AutoDrive Challenge spurs student’s interest in Kettering University

Attending Kettering University was an easy decision for Lindsey Malson ‘22 for a number of reasons. Her father, Steve Malson ‘95, attended Kettering. She was a member of Kettering’s FIRST Robotics team Metal Muscle this past season. And then there was the opportunity to participate in the AutoDrive Challenge.

“Dr. [Diane] Peters has given me a lot of guidance on how to collaborate with other people,” Malson said. “She’s guided me about how Mechanical, Electrical and Computer Engineering are all going to mesh together in the AutoDrive Challenge.”

Kettering University is one of eight universities around the world selected to participate in the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) AutoDrive™ Challenge – an international autonomous vehicle competition. The challenge tasks faculty and students to develop and demonstrate a fully operational autonomous driving passenger vehicle. The technical goal of the competition is to navigate an urban driving course in an automated driving mode by year three.

Malson is majoring in Computer Science and is looking forward to being a member of the AutoDrive Challenge throughout her collegiate career.

“With her programming skills and interest in autonomous vehicles, I'm sure she's going to be integral to our efforts in the autonomous vehicle space throughout the university,” Peters said.

Lindsey Malson

Malson developed her programming skills while a member of the Kettering’s robotics team. She has been involved with FIRST for five years. She initially was involved with the build and electrical components of the robot before transitioning to programming for the past three years. She has served as a programming mentor for two middle school robotics teams from Lapeer. For her efforts she was awarded the “Young Mentor” award at the FIRST Tech Challenge (middle school robotics) Michigan state competition.

“Lindsey is a remarkable young woman and a great team player on Metal Muscle,” Peters said. “She's done a great job, both on her own and working together with the rest of the programming team, and I'm sure she'll excel at Kettering in our Computer Science department.”

Malson specifically chose to study Computer Science because of the field’s unique intersection with emerging technologies related to autonomous vehicles.

“I really like the room that a computer engineer has to grow,” Malson said. “The fact that we can augment reality and develop so many features on autonomous vehicles -- it’s really intriguing.”

Malson is excited to be at Kettering alongside fellow programmers on campus. She’s excited to expand her perspective on how to combat challenges associated with autonomous vehicles by learning from both faculty members and her peers. The ability to learn from others in a small group setting ultimately reinforced her decision to attend Kettering.

“It was a pretty easy decision for me to attend Kettering,” Malson said. “I wanted a small school. I really enjoy being in small classes and being able to connect with other students and teachers, and be able to get guidance from a small group of people.”

For more on the AutoDrive Challenge, visit