Virtual tours and a self-driving golf cart: JMU students unveil tech projects

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — JMU X-labs students debuted their final projects on Friday.

One of those projects was a self driving golf cart that 20 students from five different majors worked on all semester. It is controlled by an app with preset destinations, but getting to them wasn't always a smooth ride.

The leader of the automated vehicle project, Claire Fulk, said building the automated cart was only half the journey.

"One of the points went up over a curb, so then every time the car would drive at that part it would begin to go over the curb. So once we began actually having the car drive itself we were able to address those sorts of things that we didn't realize previously," said Fulk.

Fulk said her favorite part of the project was seeing students from so many different majors combine their skills to complete the project.

Another project debuted was a virtual reality tour of the James Madison University campus, which was picked up by admissions for school tours.

The original purpose of the project was to allow people who cannot walk or who live far away to be able to see what the campus has to offer.

Christian Caruso, a JMU X-Labs teaching assistant for the virtual reality project, said working on it has been challenging, yet rewarding.

"There's no one who's done this before, so it's a lot of "googling", trouble shooting, and resetting the computer, changing out the hardware, things that no one else has done just to find out exactly what works and if it was one thing different, it would all fall apart. So that's kind of a cool challenge that we've had to overcome" said Caruso.

The students have also finished projects involving drones, underwater drones and projects mapping oyster reefs.