Area college to start self-driving cars program

Sinclair Community College has been awarded a $752,980 grant to develop curriculum and educate community college faculty on self-driving cars.

Sinclair received the award from the National Science Foundation. Sinclair will work with General Motors and Fiat Chrystler, said Sinclair spokesman Adam Murka.

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The college will likely purchase or acquire some cars from the automakers, Murka said.

“It’s something the college has been very interested in,” Murka said. “You can’t help but get the sense that this technology is coming.”

The money will help to provide week-long professional development sessions, webinars and other learning events for 40 community college faculty members a year, according to the award announcement.

“The project will also monitor and document the skills and knowledge needed by the future automotive technician who will repair and maintain vehicles using a new set of skills not taught today,” the NSF said in the grant announcement.

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The grant also aims to help other colleges “update their curriculum to meet the changing needs in the industry.”

Sinclair Community College is known for another unmanned vehicle. The college has a two-year drone program, referred to as unmanned aerial systems, and wants to offer a bachelor’s degree in the field.

“We’ve been very interested in unmanned systems of all kinds,” Murka said. “This is a good off chute of that.”

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