ALUMNI SPEAKER SERIES "Autonomous Vehicles: The Hope and Hype of Self-Driving Cars"

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

UW Moose autonomous vehicle

Autonomous Vehicles: The Hope and Hype of Self-Driving Cars 

Thanks to the rapid progress and intense research of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and autonomous vehicles systems, the advancement of self-driving vehicles is becoming a reality. Will you be “driven” by an autonomous vehicle in your lifetime? What are the wicked problems of self-driving cars? How will these vehicles fare against Canadian winters? Will self-driving cars become a shared service instead of a personal purchase? Will autonomous vehicles improve the transportation sector’s environmental record including its contributions to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions? What technology are we waiting on? Join this webinar to learn about the future of self-driving vehicle as our panel of experts discuss the reality of autonomous vehicles from the research, industry and consumers’ point of view.   

The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panel of experts.
Register online

A Zoom link will be sent to those who register for this session. 


Stefanie BruinsmaStefanie Bruinsma
BASc 2015, Mechanical Engineering
Manager of Industry Engagement
Engineering Research Office, University of Waterloo 

Stefanie Bruinsma manages industry engagement for the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering Research Office. She has a lengthy and unique history within the automotive industry, becoming a licensed Automotive Technician in 2007 and building upon this with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2015.

Stephanie was the team lead for the Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) Facility at UWaterloo from its inception until 2019. Her experience includes managing powertrain dynamometer facilities, where Stefanie commissioned, launched, and operated test cells for vehicles, motors, engines, and batteries. Experienced in setting up numerous different test scenarios, she has worked on significant research projects with industry partners and advised Waterloo’s undergraduate automotive student competition teams.

In 2019, she transitioned to the role of manager, industry engagement for the Engineering Research Office at UWaterloo. Demonstrating her lifelong love of learning and constant drive to expand her knowledge base, she enrolled in the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) degree at UWaterloo, which she will complete in June 2021. She is also a Concept $5k and APEX pitch winner, whilst developing her Miss Mechanic expansion project which is currently in an active beta pilot. Currently registered with Professional Engineer’s Ontario (PEO) as an Engineer-in-Training (EIT), Stefanie expects to receive her Professional designation in 2021.

Panel Speakers: 

stephen smith headshotStephen L. Smith, PhD
Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Autonomous Systems
University of Waterloo

Stephen L. Smith received his B.Sc. degree from Queen’s University, Canada, in 2003, his MASc degree from the University of Toronto, Canada, in 2005, and his PhD degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, in 2009.  He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada, where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Autonomous Systems.  He is also a faculty affiliate with the Vector Institute, in Toronto, Canada.  From 2009 to 2011 he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Prof. Smith has received several awards including the Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation in 2016, the NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement Award in 2015, and two Outstanding Performance Awards from the University of Waterloo.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PEng) with the Professional Engineers Ontario, a Senior Member of the IEEE, an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Control of Networks Systems, and a General Chair of the 2021 30th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN).  His main research interests lie in control and optimization for autonomous systems, with a particular emphasis on robotic motion planning and coordination.

Lisa Aultman-Hall headshotLisa Aultman-Hall, PhD
Professor and Chair of the Department of Systems Design Engineering
University of Waterloo

Lisa Aultman-Hall is professor and chair of systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario Canada. Dr. Aultman-Hall focuses on transportation systems, especially methods to collect unique databases for modeling and analysis of long-distance travel, transportation sector emissions, network resiliency, streetscape design, and non-motorized transportation. Until recently, she served several leadership roles at the interdisciplinary University of Vermont Transportation Research Center. Dr. Aultman-Hall is active with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies where recent roles include chairing the National Transportation Data Committee and the 2018 National Household Transportation Survey (NHTS) Conference. Dr. Aultman-Hall brings modeling of real-world spatial behavior to the modeling of charging demand for electric vehicles with the Joint Clean Climate Transport Research Partnership (JCCTRP) led by the University of Quebec at Montreal.  Her expertise in automated vehicles focuses on how they will be used for passenger travel including long-distance trips and elements of equitable access.

Amar Varma (BASc '99)Amar Varma
(BASc 1999, Electrical Engineering)
Co-Founder and COO
Autonomic Inc.

Biography to come.

Engineering Alumni Affairs

Please note: This session will be recorded with permission of the speakers and moderator and will be posted to view on the Alumni Speaker Playlist on the Waterloo Engineering YouTube Channel after the live session. Viewers do not have permission to record the session.