Jaydeep Radadiya: UMass Amherst Rising Researcher
“A good researcher needs motivation to be an explorer—you have to stick to something, keep improving, and finish it, don’t leave it.”
Coming from the outskirts of Surat, India, Jaydeep Radadiya is the first in his family, indeed in his community, to attend college. With scholarship support from a UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Award, he’s succeeded in taking what he calls “a massive jump” toward his goals: “I want to make a contribution and I want to see my parents’ smile,” he says.
Jaydeep’s UMass research in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering focuses on the safety of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Specifically, he studies how people interact with such technology as lane-keeping systems and adaptive cruise control. “My goal is to ensure that the interface between the human and the technology is always considered,” he says. “We look at how much trust people have in the system and how they use it in different scenarios.”
Using a driving simulator and studying drivers on the road, Jaydeep has investigated how and why drivers misuse ADAS. For example, drivers may push the wrong buttons to activate or deactivate cruise control. Over-reliance on ADAS is dangerous as well. For instance, when a car emerges from a dark tunnel, the sunlight may reflect from the ADAS cameras, causing the system to malfunction. The driver needs to be aware of this and adjust. ADAS safety research will help automotive companies design better systems and provide better driver instruction.
Jaydeep secured his place in a UMass research lab out of necessity. He recalls: “I didn’t have the option of returning to work in India, so when I learned about summer research assistantships, I sent emails to professors and said, ‘I will work hard and prove my worth to you.’ It was scary, because I had an empty résumé.”
After an interview, Anuj K. Pradhan ’04G, ’09PhD, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, invited Jaydeep to join his research group in the Human Performance Lab. Jaydeep stayed for the next two years. Pradhan says, “Jaydeep surpassed my expectations by displaying a natural intuition and understanding of scientific research. He has undertaken significant efforts and displayed great leadership in examining vehicle automation systems.”
“If my work saves only one life, I’ll have made a contribution,” Jaydeep says. After just three years at UMass Amherst, Jaydeep will complete his bachelor’s degree in May; he’s now weighing job offers from top corporations around the country. He plans to attend graduate school in the future and he and some friends have an automotive-related startup in the works. “Coming to UMass was the best decision of my life,” he says. “There is so much to offer and I’ve done everything that was possible.”