Eyes off the Road: The Driving Force Behind Autonomous Vehicles




When you think of “autonomous vehicles”, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is Herbie the Love Bug, Hollywood’s most beloved self-driving car. Or maybe you picture a car full of people chatting away on their phones, applying make-up, and reading books – and definitely not paying attention to the road. In fact, that’s the benefit that a lot of people in the industry are touting as autonomous vehicles move from science fiction to reality: the ability to make the time-suck of your daily commute… productive. 

But there is more to self-driving cars than being able to check your emails. Autonomous vehicles are gearing up to make roads safer. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year – 37,000 in the U.S. alone. In fact, road traffic crashes rank as the world’s 9th leading cause of death. 

On the latest episode of The Connected Engineer – PTC’s podcast series aimed at the people who turn napkin sketches in reality – host, Gavin Quinlan, speaks with David Glass of LHP Engineering Solutions, who shares the heart-wrenching tale of how he became convinced that autonomous vehicles aren’t just a fun toy of the future, but a necessity to keep future generations safe. 

During the podcast, Glass tells the story of Josh Speidel, a basketball player that he coached from a young age, whose promising playing career at the University of Vermont took a tragic turn when he was broadsided by an SUV in February, 2015. The accident left Speidel in a coma for six weeks. The tragedy affected Glass deeply who recalls visiting Speidel’s family and thinking how his organization, LHP Engineering Solutions, had the technology and capability to avoid deadly traffic accidents such as Speidel’s. “I felt like I had a responsibility to his family and even for my kids and grandkids,” says Glass. “There is a real need to make our roads safer and leverage the technology that already exists today to help save lives.” 

The announcement that LHP Engineering Solutions would focus on autonomous vehicles was well-received by employees. “It really brings everyone together with a mission and vision,” explains Glass. “I think the ability to leverage the talent we have -- to do something big for the world -- can be very exciting for everyone.”

Learn more about how LHP Engineering Solutions is leading the way to a world of self-driving cars in the latest episode of The Connected Engineer. Until next time: stay curious, my friends!