Grad Student Brings Industry Experience to Driving Dynamics Lab

Posted: November 9, 2020
Olivia Jacome
Olivia Jacome

Olivia Jacome has been interested in the intelligent design of products for much of her academic career. That passion is what brought her to Ohio State, working in the Center for Automotive Research Driving Dynamics Lab and pursuing a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Jacome received her undergraduate degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York where she dual majored in Mechanical Engineering and a program called Design, Innovation and Society which she describes as the interaction between design, humanities and social sciences; essentially how to develop socially-conscious designs that still meet the needs of consumers.

Following undergrad, Jacome moved to Ohio to fulfill a position with Honda’s infotainment and user experience team.

“We aimed to design human-machine interfaces (HMI) that improved the overall user experience in our vehicles, whether that be an interaction in the center display, dashboard, or heads-up display,” said Jacome. “We worked directly with our customers, gathering input to develop prototypes and final products that met their expectations.”

Her time at Honda fostered an interest in autonomous systems. She became curious about how vehicle control systems could be designed in a way that creates a meaningful driving experience. 

“People will often use the apps on their phone to aid in a driving task like navigating, but the goal is to develop an overall smart vehicle that can safely navigate a passenger to their destination autonomously while creating a comfortable experience that the user wants to engage with,” said Jacome.

Driving Dynamics Lab
The driving simulator in the CAR Driving Dynamics Lab

Research Scientist, Jeff Christos, who oversees the Driving Dynamics Lab, says that Olivia’s HMI development experience gained during her time at Honda will be a valuable asset to the lab as they continue to make improvements and adjustments to the simulator.

Olivia is now pursuing a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a specific focus on control systems and human factors engineering, hoping to one day answer the question ‘How do we create enjoyable user experiences that are compatible with an increasingly autonomous future?’