Our Research Team

Lab Director

  • Lab Staff

    Dr. Zachary D. Asher

    Zach Asher headshot

    Zachary D. Asher, Ph.D, is director of the lab and an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Western Michigan University. His research interests are focused on a real world realization of energy efficient and autonomous vehicles. To execute on this vision he actively seeks collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders in industry, government and academia. He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University in May 2018, a M.S. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in 2012, and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University in May 2009. He also worked full time in engineering industry from 2009 to 2015.



    Dr. Nicholas E. Brown

    Dr. Nic BrownNic Brown, Ph.D., is senior research associate and executive director of the EEAV lab, focusing on pioneering the development, testing and analysis of cutting-edge autonomous vehicle systems. These systems are designed to usher in a transformative era in transportation, with a core emphasis on energy efficiency, safety and sustainability. In conjunction with a multidisciplinary team, Brown leads efforts to create and refine advanced algorithms, sensor technologies and control systems, enabling autonomous vehicles to navigate complex urban environments with unparalleled efficiency. By optimizing energy consumption, minimizing carbon emissions and integrating renewable energy sources into the autonomous vehicle ecosystem, the team's research will establish a foundation for sustainable transportation solutions. Brown also actively engages in securing research grants, fostering collaborations and setting industry standards, cementing the lab's pivotal role in shaping the future of autonomous transportation through innovative and energy-efficient technologies.

    Brown earned his Ph.D. from Western Michigan University, working as a research associate candidate and perception/fusion research scientist. He evaluated and demonstrated autonomous vehicle technology while utilizing optimization, machine learning and neural networks to enable artificial intelligent agents to actively improve the operation and energy efficiency of autonomous vehicles.  Prior to pursuing his doctoral work, Brown’s experience includes being a certified automotive mechanic with training in gasoline, hybrid electric and electric vehicles with a specialty in diesel vehicles; and leading a team of U.S. Army infantrymen for over seven years and engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom 2009.

    Dr. Johan Fanas Rojas

    Dr. Johan Fanas, PhD, senior research engineer, earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Western Michigan University. His research focus is on developing metrics to evaluate the performance of autonomous vehicles. He has more than seven years of experience as an autonomous vehicle research engineer and a power plant engineer. As a research assistant at WMU,  he worked in areas such as controls, perception and localization for autonomous vehicles.


Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistants

  • Parth Kadav, August 2021 to present

    Parth Kadav is a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering and a research assistant in Energy Efficiency and Autonomous Laboratory . His research focus is in improving computer vision systems for advanced driver assistance systems in inclement weather conditions. He obtained his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at WMU and has since been involved in research.

  • Pritesh Y. Patil, January 2023 to present
    Pritesh Y. PatilPritesh Y. Patil, a Ph.D student studying mechanical engineering, has over three years of industrial experience working as a product development engineer. He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from WMU in 2020. As a graduate research assistant for the Center for Energy Efficient and Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory, his research involves developing, integrating and demonstrating a technology suite that reduces the power consumption of an autonomous vehicle's sensing and compute load to make autonomous vehicles more energy efficient.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

  • Alexandra Masterson, 2022 to present
    Alexandra Masterson is an undergraduate student in aerospace engineering and a research assistant at the Energy Efficient and Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory. Her research involves the use and processing of GPS data and the relation to real-world testing using resilience engineering theory.
  • Anika Tabassum, 2022 to present

    Anika Tabassum is an undergraduate student in computer engineering and a research assistant at the Energy Efficiency and Autonomous Laboratory. Her research involves upgrading the computer vision systems and working on embedded hardware for advanced driver assistance systems in inclement weather conditions.



Interested in joining the team?

Your first step is to apply to WMU and notify the EEAV Lab director if you are accepted.