Tennessee School District Partners With MIT on Autonomous Vehicle Program



Williamson County Schools in Tennessee are partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a program dedicated to autonomous vehicles.

The program, which will initially start at Independence High School and Franklin High School this fall, will teach students the Python programming language, the Ubuntu operating system, and the robot operating system (ROS). The programming language and operating systems will be used to program the students' vehicles to operate autonomously as they maneuver through a course.

When speaking about what led to the creation of the program, Brent Greene, an AP computer science teacher at Franklin High School, spoke about his desire to give students real world applications of the things that they learn in the classroom.

“The teaching of computer science/programming as just a set of languages, does not appeal to me, as it seems very removed from any application to real life,” Greene says via the Tennessean.

Greene, who pitched the program and helped start it, adds, “I wanted to create a program that was cutting edge and would be for years to come.”

According to the Tennessean, the ideal course sequence would see freshmen take a class called Coding I, sophomores taking Autonomous Vehicles I, juniors taking Autonomous Vehicles II, and seniors taking AP Computer Science.

During sophomore and junior years, students are going to be responsible for writing their own code, and building their own 1/10th scale automobile. Students will finish the program by putting their vehicles on a course and letting it drive autonomously.

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