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Mathematical Modelling: The Mathematics of Stopping a Self-Driving Car – University Tutorial With Dr Robert Whittaker From University of East Anglia

9th December 2021 @ 16:45 - 17:30



In this live interactive Mathematical Modelling tutorial, we will be joined by Dr Robert Whittaker, Lecturer in Applied Mathematics in the School of Mathematics at UEA, who will explore The Mathematics of Stopping a Self-Driving Car.

The full context/introduction to this live and interactive discussion is provided by UEA in a Headliner recorded resource (see below) which offers insights into how we tackle this fascinating problem. This recording can be watched as a class activity or independently in preparation for the discussion and develops the points below:

Self-driving cars need to provide an experience that is both safe and comfortable for their passengers. In this Channel Talent Headliner, we will examine how mathematics can help ensure a smoother ride when a self-driving car needs to come to a halt at some point on the road ahead.The introductory video will describe the problem and introduce the idea of “mathematical modelling” — how to turn a real-world problem into a mathematical problem that we can solve. Viewers will then be invited to think about the modelling for this problem.In the interactive live session we shall look at a simple mathematical model for the smooth stopping of a self-driving car, and see how various mathematical techniques can be employed toobtain a solution. We will then discuss how the model could be improved to obtain more realistic results. 

The session aims to deepen students’ understanding of the topic whilst enabling them to access and experience a live online university tutorial.

The Headliner recording is below.


Lecturer Profile (Please Click): Dr Robert Whittaker

Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom, or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but access to the Headliner recording will continue to be accessible.


Suitable for: Key Stage 5 students studying or with an interest in studying Mathematics and related subjects, and who enjoy the opportunity to apply their Mathematical skills to solving real world problems. Teachers and members of school staff, as always, are welcome too and participants can join as individuals from school/college or home, or as a group from school/college.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Students are asked to watch the Headliner recording and consider some of the key issues.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:


9th December 2021
16:45 - 17:30