Intel announced the winners of its International Science and Engineering Fair earlier this month, and top honors went ot a Romanian teenager for utilizing artificial intelligence to create a low-cost self-driving car concept.
Ionut Budisteanu, 19, leveraged mounted cameras in his design for a vehicle that could detect traffic lanes and curbs as well as generate real-time positioning information. The AI system processes webcam images to identify obstacles and lane markers, and uses low-resolution 3D radar to identify large items like cars and houses. His $4,000 design snagged the Gordon E. Moore Award (named in honor of Intel’s co-founder) along with $75,000 in prize money.
“The most expensive thing from the Google self-driving car is the high resolution 3-D radar, so I was thinking how I could remove it,” Budisteanu said in an interview with NBC News.
Millions of high school students around the world participate in the competition via local science fairs, with 1,600 regional, state, and national winners attending the week-long awards event.
Other winners included:
- Eesha Khare, 18, of Saratoga, CA, who received the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award ($50,000) for developing a small device that fits inside cell phone batteries, allowing them to fully charge in 20 to 30 seconds.
- Henry Lin, 17, Shreveport, LA, also received the Young Scientist Award for simulating thousands of clusters of galaxies.