By: Jordan Scott and Emmariah Holcomb
Tonight, millions throughout the U.S. will watch as the University of Virginia (UVA) Cavaliers take on the Texas Tech University Red Raiders in the NCAA Tournament championship. While Charlottesville, Va., and Lubbock, Texas, may soon be known for basketball glory, what many may not know is the towns’ connections to the glass industry.
Texas Tech has been home to many researchers whose work, especially concerning natural disasters, has impacted the architectural glass industry. For more on that click here.
Lubbock is also home to several glass companies whose employees are excited to see Texas Tech reach the championship. According to Belinda McMennamy, manager at Action Glass & Mirror, the shop and town are completely ecstatic about the game.
“We’re great supporters of Tech,” she said.
Unsurprisingly, Raider Red’s Auto Glass is also excited for tonight’s action. Gabriel Pineda, owner of the shop, says his mobile glass shop gives discounts to Texas Tech students.
Commonwealth Glass owner, Kris Hancock is trying to keep things in his shop running smoothly in light of tonight’s big game. He mentioned that although his Charlottesville business isn’t doing anything special or out of the ordinary to prepare for the finals, he and his team will surely be watching.
“Oh yes, we’re definitely excited for tonight’s game and of course to see who will win. We’ve been a little busy, but nothing we haven’t seen before,” said Hancock.
UVA’s engineering school has been highlighting and doing research on the autonomous side of the industry for years. One of its associate professors, B. Brian Park, is the director of the university’s traffic operations laboratory. Park, along with other professors in the department, are working on obtaining grant funding for the Development of Safety Evaluation Technologies and Test-beds for Automated Vehicles. According to UVA, it will aid in determining specific factors that affect the safety of automated vehicles within a virtual testbed, by utilizing a PreScan software.
Autonomous research is also the main focus for Nicola Bezzo, an assistant professor who is also a member of UVA’s engineering department.
“My research focuses on increasing autonomy, resiliency and security of mobile robotic systems and cyber-physical systems,” says Bezzo.
The two schools face off tonight at 9:20 p.m. ET at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The game will be available to watch on CBS.