DAVG on shaping a better future on this planet

The “Best Outreach Project” category finalists have been announced for the AutoSens Awards. Detroit Autonomous Vehicle Group (DAVG) are one of the 5 shortlisted projects alongside NWAPW, DIY Robocars, RobotLAB and Udacity. The best outreach project award at the AutoSens Awards recognises the work and influence of education and development projects led by organisations and individuals around the world.

The AutoSens Awards, now in their second year are making a big splash in the vehicle perception and sensor technology industry. The awards do much more than simply recognise individual and corporate technical innovation. Categories covering academic achievement and educational programmes are an increasingly important aspect of this industry. The AutoSens Awards strive to inspire and equip the next generation of engineers

“It’s an honor for us to be nominated in this category, especially by AutoSens, made by fellow engineers for engineers.” comments Project Founder Alex Polonsky. “We have worked very diligently on getting to this point. Of course, we did not get here without help of others, and we would love to show them that their efforts were recognized and are helping people. We think we stood out because we are trying to engage and enable the Detroit community. Detroit was built on automotive industry and is still considered one of the largest automotive hubs in the world, if not still the capital. We provide our members with opportunities that otherwise would not have existed, from projects with their kids to professional growth, including creating start-ups. We operate out of a local member-run maker space where we host monthly challenges/races and bi-weekly Meetups. People are able to come and learn about the most recent technologies and how to apply them. “

Detroit Autonomous Vehicle Group recent put together an event for kids. In addition to their regular maker space event, they also host events with companies, and recently participated in “Bring Your Kids To Work Day” where they were able to engage kids, make them laugh, give them a memorable experience. Inspiring them to make an impact on the industry in the future.

Rob Stead, Awards Director for the AutoSens Awards shared his reasons for selecting the Detroit Autonomous Vehicle Group as finalists for this category. “DAVG has built an impressive following in their home territory, and sets a great example to other outreach and education projects. They engage not only beginners and hobbyists, but the discussions and activities attract senior level engineers from the region rich in automotive talent, testament to the quality of their offering.”

Polonsky shares an insight into his life and why he set the project up. “My personal values are with family, community, and giving back. A couple of years ago I was presented with the opportunity to take a course at Udacity, at which time I decided to start this group, so engineers and others interested in the field could learn in an interactive and hands-on environment with other people in real life. Since its inception I’ve been able to grow both personally and professionally. I’ve become a better husband, son, and employee. My bond with my wife and family has gotten stronger as we are able to share about the group’s activities, and they often take time to learn about how the world is changing with these newly emerging technologies. My current employer also hired me thanks to the group, and my role has since evolved to working with AI, which I believe is the future. “

He continues “Winning this award would show our community that what we are doing is valuable, and even though we cannot show profits for doing this, life is not always measured by profits. We are doing much more than earning money, and that is enabling people, and most importantly, future generations. This award will help us show the importance of our work and hopefully begin to host hackathons for students from middle school through college, to teach them about cutting edge technologies. This way we can help shape a better future on this planet for humans.”

“Everyone shortlisted is a very worthy candidate. Winning is not crucial for us, and we believe it’s not up for us to decide who should win. Meanwhile, we are grateful and humbled that our achievements are noticed and will continue to work on empowering communities in Detroit.” summarises Polonsky.

Good luck to Alex Polonsky and Detroit Autonomous Vehicle Group, congratulations again on being selected as finalists. Join the celebrations at the AutoSens Awards and see who will be crowned the winner of the “Best Outreach Project” category on 19 September at the Atomium, Brussels. Book tickets here >>