Sara Reed

Sara Reed, Ph.D. student, Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences

Explores autonomous deliveries

What is your degree program and expected graduation date? PhD program in Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences (AMCS), Spring 2021

Please describe your research: I explore how autonomous (self-driving) vehicles will impact urban delivery. Impact is analyzed from both the perspective of the costs to delivery companies and congestion in urban areas.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Urban delivery is expensive and creates traffic congestion, and these challenges are being exacerbated by the increased use of e-commerce. By making the delivery people more efficient, the use of autonomous vehicles has the ability to reduce the costs of delivery while also reducing congestion in urban parking.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started research in the second year of my program at the University of Iowa.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? My time at the University of Iowa has taught me how to pose and rigorously model real-world problems and work towards finding a solution. Thus, research has become not just about new knowledge, but about solving important societal problems.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I plan to pursue a career as a professor where I can continue to create new knowledge and encourage exploration through student research.

Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Ann Campbell and Dr. Barrett Thomas

Hometown: Johnston, Iowa

Banner location: Downtown—Clinton Street and College Street