Raphael Stern Joins CEGE Faculty

Driving Transportation Research in CEGE

CEGE welcomes new faculty member Raphael Stern. Stern will study and teach topics at the intersection of technology and transportation including autonomous vehicles. Of particular interest to Stern is how technologies such as increased vehicle automation will influence transportation. His specific interests include the impact of autonomous (or semi-autonomous) vehicles on overall traffic flow and the potential to control the entire flow of traffic using autonomous vehicles, especially when the numbers of autonomous vehicles in traffic is low.

In previous research, Stern used a single experimental autonomous vehicle in a flow of human-piloted vehicles to influence traffic flow for the better and significantly reduce the fuel consumption of all vehicles on the road. His research showed that, even at market penetration rates as low as 5%, autonomous vehicles may be able to significantly improve the traffic flow for all drivers.

“I’m interested in how technology is changing transportation,” says Stern. “We see vehicles with increased autonomous capabilities (for example, lane departure assist features or adaptive cruise control) and fully autonomous vehicles entering our urban streets. I’m interested in understanding how human-piloted vehicles and autonomous vehicles interact and influence traffic flow and traffic dynamics.”

Stern is also interested in understanding how to exploit technological advances to improve the operation of our transportation networks. He is excited about the possibilities to develop new technologies that will shape the future of how we move. Stern see the urban location of the UMN Twin Cities campus as “a great testbed to observe and understand transportation issues.”

Stern completed his BS, MS, and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has spent time as a visiting researcher at Vanderbilt University as well as postdoctoral researcher at the Technical University of Munich. Stern was drawn to CEGE because of the department’s longstanding tradition in driving innovation in transportation.