Carnegie Mellon University

Sharika Hegde with CARMA

August 16, 2019

Internship: Hegde Gets Technical with Autonomous Vehicles

Sharika Hegde, rising CEE senior with a minor in Computer Science, spent her summer interning as a contractor at the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, just outside of Washington, D.C. She’s part of a team that’s focused on national connected and automated vehicle (CAV) research.

The team also develops new CAV technology and makes it accessible to state Departments of Transportation. Sharika’s main project involves working on a variety of data visualization and CAV research projects—including FHWA's Cooperative Automation Research Mobility Applications (CARMA) platform.

CEE: How did you become interested in this specific internship?

Sharika: My interests are primarily in ITS, data analytics, and connected and automated vehicle (CAV) systems. In this internship, I’m working on CAV data visualization and analytics projects as well as developing material for states to help in connected vehicle deployment.

I also support FHWA with its automated vehicle project, the CARMA platform.

CEE: How did you learn about the internship?

Sharika: I discovered the internship on LinkedIn and applied online for acceptance.

CEE: How did your coursework at CEE help you with your work?

Sharika: I had a strong background in transportation and fundamentals from my Traffic Engineering class—where I’d learned about current practices in the industry as well as technical details on traffic planning and signalization.

The class that prepared me the most, though, was Smart Cities: Growth and Intelligent Transportation Systems. It provided a thorough background in connected and automated vehicles and the future of transportation.

Because I work in a research lab, I am more concerned with the future of transportation. The Smart Cities class really gave me a solid foundation and helped me to answer some tough interview questions!

CEE: What’s been your favorite part of the internship?

Sharika: By far, the best part is getting to work with (and ride in) autonomous vehicles.

CEE: What advice do you have for students thinking about internships?

Sharika: Apply to as many internships as you can. I had no idea what my internship would look like until my second round of interviews—when they let me know that it would be more than just traditional transportation and highway engineering. It was just what I was looking for.