NM Delegation Hails $3 Million for UNM Program Focused on Improving Autonomous Technology

Program will also provide underrepresented students with experience in cyber-physical systems (CPS)

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.)Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the University of New Mexico (UNM) $3,254,834 for their Cognitive Autonomy for Human CPS: Turning Novices into Experts program. This program will help develop improvements that will make autonomous technology more adaptable to real-life behavior while also preparing underrepresented students for future professional and academic opportunities in the field of CPS.

“This grant awarded to the University of New Mexico will help its exceptional researchers continue to advance this cutting-edge technology, while also providing new opportunities to underrepresented students,” Udall said. “Every day, New Mexicans are increasingly interacting with autonomous technology – when we drive our cars or even when we receive a delivery. It is in the best interest of all New Mexicans that we continue to research the most efficient, most transparent, and safest versions of this new technology.”

"Emerging developments like autonomous technologies--and the opportunities and challenges they bring--are becoming seemingly inevitable. Supporting extraordinary research and development programs keep these advancements on a responsible path." said Heinrich. "New Mexico has long been a trailblazer for groundbreaking technologies. I’m proud to support this major federal investment to help UNM not only develop good quality data, but to also ensure underrepresented New Mexico students are part of this diverse future generation of innovators.”

“New Mexico’s universities are at the forefront of innovation. This grant, awarded to the University of New Mexico, will ensure our state’s researchers and students will continue to have the resources to advance autonomous technology. I am proud to see new opportunities created for underrepresented students and our state’s institutes of higher education succeed,” said Luján.

“All New Mexicans should have access to the tools they need to succeed in the future, but too often our students fall into the digital divide. This funding from the National Science Foundation can help bridge the digital divide while investing in UNM’s technology research,” said Haaland. 

“Whether it’s infrastructure, transportation, or agriculture, autonomous technology already solves practical problems in New Mexico,” said Torres Small. “This latest investment will help UNM develop safer and more responsive technology, while also opening the door for underrepresented students to gain experience in a high-demand field,” said Torres Small.

More information about UNM’s Cognitive Autonomy for Human CPS: Turning Novices into Experts program can be found HERE.

The grant will also help to expand project participation of underrepresented communities through a culturally responsive undergraduate summer research program. This program will provide insights about learning environments that support participation and retention. All research and educational material generated by the project are being made available to the public through the project webpage.