The Mason-SAVI Collaboratory is an informal initiative whose mission is to bring together faculty, students, staff, and alumni who share an interest in researching and developing AV solutions.

About the Mason-SAVI Collaboratory

The Mason-SAVI Collaboratory is composed of a cross-disciplinary group of faculty and students from a number of Mason academic units including: Schar School of Policy and Government, Volgenau School of Engineering, Scalia Law School, School of Business, College of Science, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

In the future, AV solutions will also be explored beyond the Fairfax campus including AV solutions for Arlington, Prince William, Smithsonian-Mason, Inova-Mason, Leesburg, Belmont Bay, Point of View, and Mason Korea campuses.

Below are short summaries of some Mason faculty and students we have talked with about participating in the Mason-SAVI Collaboratory.


Steve (Cing-Dao) Kan
 703-993‒5898  or

Professor, Computational Solid Mechanics, College of Science, George Mason University
Co-Director, Center for Collision Safety and Analysis (CCSA) , GMU

Dr. Kan served as the Director of the National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC) from July 2005 to May 2013. His research activities have been focused on computational solid mechanics using non-linear finite element (FE) modeling and analysis methodologies.

While at NCAC he led efforts to develop vehicle structural and occupant models, conduct evaluations of vehicle crashworthiness, assess bumper-height compatibility issues in collisions between large and small vehicles, analyze roadside hardware safety, and conduct component and full-scale crash tests to gather data for formulating models and/or validating simulation results.

Users and Policy


Kelley Coyner
Phone: 571-641-9132

Senior Fellow, Center for Regional Analysis, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University
Former Executive Director, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission

Kelley Coyner’s positons in the transportation field, include service as the Senate-confirmed Administrator of Research and Special Programs at the U.S. DOT, research appointments at MIT and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, counsel to independent flight attendant unions, and advisor to the Vice Chair of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and staff liaison to the Texas Highway Commission.





Duminda Wijesekera
Phone: 703-993-5030

Professor, Computer Science, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University
Director, Laboratory of Radio and RADAR Engineering (RARE)

Duminda Wijesekera’s current research addresses the security and safety of cyber-physical systems. Research in this area includes safety and security of trains, aircraft, ships, and automobiles. The goal of this research is to create secure cognitive radio networks that ensure mandated safety guarantees.

Duminda oversees research and development related to AV Vehicle and Automation issues.

Damoon Soudbakhsh

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University

Damoon Soudbakhsh has worked both in industry and academia and developed resilient and energy efficient transportation systems.

He was a member of Active Adaptive Controls Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for more than four years. As a research scientist at MIT, he introduced algorithms for co-design of Cyber-Physical Systems and developed methods for prognostics and health monitoring of jet engines.

For his PhD, he worked on the development of several active safety vehicle systems including a steering control collision avoidance system, and an intelligent speed adaptation system.

Elham Sahraei
Phone: 703-993-6234

Assistant Professor and Beck Foundation Faculty Fellow, Volgenau School of Engineering,
George Mason University

Sahraei has been a Research Scientist at the Impact and Crashworthiness Lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2014. She is the co-director of the MIT Battery Consortium, a multi-sponsor industrial program supported by major automotive and battery manufacturers such as Daimler, Jaguar Land-Rover, LG Chem, and Boston Power.

She has also been a co-investigator of multiple Ford-MIT Alliance projects, and a DOE project with National Renewable Energy Lab on safety of Li-Ion batteries. Her current research is focused on characterization and computational modeling of advanced energy storage systems (Li-Ion batteries) for electric vehicles.

Post Docs

Bo Yu

Research Faculty, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University

Changwei (Coco) Liu

Research Faculty, Department of Computer Science, George Mason University


Eniye Tebekaemi

Ph.D. Candidate, Information Technology, George Mason University
Research Interests: Cyber Physical Systems Security, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Cyber Security, Smart Grid

Satish Kolli

PhD Student, George Mason University
Member, Centrifuge LLC, Contractor for U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Technically sophisticated and business savvy IT professional with a pioneering career reflecting strong leadership qualifications coupled with “hands-on” IT design and implementation.

Chaitanya Yavvari

Ph.D. student, Computer Science, George Mason University
Research Interests: Data mining for Computer Security, Visualization, Big data

Eric O. Scott

PhD Student, Computer Science, George Mason University
Graduate Research Assistant, George Mason University

Eric Scott is a graduate researcher at GMU’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study. His research is focused on enhancing the ability of evolutionary algorithms to solve complex problems.

Interests: Evolutionary Computation, , Multitask Learning, Deep Learning, Autonomous Agents


David Hamilton

Senior Software Engineer, Northrop Grumman
Neuroscientist, PhD from George Mason University

Dr Hamilton has said “Neuroscience is the most interesting and potentially useful field of study available to me at this stage in my career. I was trained as an electrical engineer, worked most of my life as a software engineer, but desire to learn how the brain works to glean useful architectural aspects for continued advancement in problem solving.”

Research: autonomous agents

Vehicle Design


Oscar Barton, Jr.
Phone:  703-993- 4160

Professor and Department Chair, Mechanical Engineering, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University

Barton joined the faculty of George Mason University in the fall semester of 2014 after completing a 22-year career at the United States Naval Academy, where he was one of only three African Americans to obtain the rank of tenured full professor and the first within the academy’s Division of Engineering and Weapons.

As the department Chairman, he oversaw the accreditation of two engineering programs and the creation of the Nuclear Engineering program, the first in the history of the U.S. Naval Academy. His research focuses on the analysis of dynamic systems, closed-form solutions for linear self-adjoint systems, and systems that govern the responses of composite structures.





Elise Miller-Hooks
Phone:    (703) 993-1685

Professor, Bill & Eleanor Hazel Chair in Infrastructure Engineering, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University

Dr. Miller-Hooks’ research program has been funded by numerous agencies, including, for example, NSF, European Commission, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, I-95 Corridor Coalition, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Maryland State Highway Administration, and various other agencies and companies.



Data Analytics & IT


Brett Berlin
Phone: 703.707.2777

Term Professor, Data Analytics M.S. Program, George Mason University
Value Creation Strategy Consultant

F. Brett Berlin’s passion for new value creation is built on over 40 years of professional experience innovating and advocating for innovators applying leading edge information solutions to mission challenges.

He has served with outstanding teams in various roles, including: senior strategy executive, consultant and mentor; applied information and systems technologist; collaborative leader; computer scientist and public policy entrepreneur.



AV Systems


Lance Sherry
Phone: 703-993-1711

Associate Professor, Systems Engineering and Operations Research department,  Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University
Director, Center for Air Transportation Systems Research (CATSR)

AV Related Research includes:

  • GMU Urban Low Altitude Drone Test Bed
  • Design of a Campus Transportation System (several student projects)
  • On Demand Urban Air Transportation Systems
  • Small Package Delivery Systems
  • Rsearch in safety, transportation operations planning, cost/benefits analysis, transportation analysis.

Maria Emelianenko
Phone:  (703) 993-9688

Professor, Mathematics, George Mason University

Specialties: Modeling, statistical analysis, optimization, numerical methods, multigrid and adaptive methods,materials science, biology, chemistry, medical applications

Karla Hoffman
Phone:  703-993-1679

Professor, Systems Engineering and Operations Research Dept., Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering

Karla Hoffman uses mathematical and statistical modeling to inform decision making. Karla served as Chair of the SEOR department for five years ending in 2001.

Previously, she worked as a mathematician in the Operations Department of the Center for Applied Mathematics of the National Institute of Standards and Technology where she served as a consultant to a variety of government agencies. Dr. Hoffman has many publications in the fields of auction theory and optimization as well as a variety of publications detailing her applied work. She is on multiple editorial boards, and is Past-President of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

Kathryn Laskey
Phone: (703) 993-1644

Professor, Systems Engineering and Operations Research, George Mason University
Associate Director, GMU’s Center of Excellence in Command, Control, Communications, Computing and Intelligence (C4I Center)

Broad research interest is the use of information technology to support better inference and decision making.
Dr. Laskey teaches courses in systems engineering, decision theory, and decision support systems.


Jon West
Phone:  301-318-2200

Software Systems Engineer, C4I, George Mason University


AV Commercialization




Fairfax Smart Campus

The proposed solutions below for the Fairfax Campus and Fairfax City are preliminary proposals. This fall, Mason faculty and students and outside consultants will be exploring and developing the MAVS knowledge base of possible solutions for the Fairfax Campus and Fairfax City.

Phase I – West Campus Shuttle

The shuttle runs between West Campus, Field House, The RAC, Mason Pond Dr., Presidents Park, Masonvale (Patriot Cir.& Staffordshire Ln) and Rappahannock River Ln. Shelter #3.

Our current recommendation is to replace the West Campus  Shuttle with 15 seater Driverless Electric Shuttles during peak times (before and after classes). Five seater shuttles could be accessed on demand at non-peak times in addition to every 15 minutes.

The 15 seat shuttle could also use other Fairfax campus roads like Rivanna River Way and Aquia Lane.

Fairfax Smart City

Phase I- University Drive Shuttle

This shuttle service from Sager Ave to Merten Hall would employ driverless electric vehicles and could connect with the West Campus shuttles. We recommend using the Local Motors “Olli” vehicle described below. Olli shuttles could be 3D printed by Mason students. Service might be free to everyone given the potential economic benefit to downtown Fairfax businesses.

Fairfax County Videos

Test Track for the Future of Autonomous Vehicles

Published on May 5, 2017 | Fairfax County Government 

Fairfax County is home to more than 70 miles of smart roads, and it’s where top researchers come to road test the latest in connected and driverless technology in real world conditions. The county is working to become an innovation hub for this technology that will produce the greatest change since the invention of the Model T.

Future of Autonomous Vehicles Panel Discussion

Published on May 5, 2017 | Fairfax County Government 

On May 3, 2017, Fairfax County convened top experts, including researchers from the Virginia Department of Transportation, to discus the future of connected and driverless cars.

There are more than 70 miles of smart roads within the county where connected and automated cars are being road tested in real world conditions.

SAVI R&D Center

Under Development

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