Our Research Team

Lab Director

  • Dr. Zachary D. Asher, EEAV Lab Director and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

    Zachary D. Asher, Ph.D, is an assistant 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.


Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistants

  • Farhang Motallebi Araghi, August 2019 to present

    Farhang graduated from Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) in 2015 with a Master of Science in automotive engineering. He has over five years of experience as a senior sales engineer, during which time he was also been involved in the design, project planning and supervision of mechanical installation projects in a variety of industries, including food, beverage, pharmaceutical, HVAC and OPC. Now a Ph.D. candidate, he works in the Energy Efficient and Autonomous Vehicle lab under the direction of Dr. Zachary D. Asher. Farhang interests are in  researching self-driving cars and high-tech transportation networks. He is now working on developing energy-efficient autonomous cars and improving mobility via the development of new technologies in optimization, control, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

  • Nicholas Brown, June 2019 to present

    Since fall 2020, Nicholas Brown has worked a Ph.D. research associate candidate and perception/fusion research scientist. He evaluates and demonstrates autonomous vehicle technology while utilizing optimization, machine learning, and neural networks that 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.



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  • Johan Fanas Rojas, April 2020 – present

    Johan Fanas is a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at Western Michigan University. His research focus is on developing metrics to evaluate the performance of autonomous vehicles. He has seven years of experience as an autonomous vehicle research engineer and a power plant engineer. As a research assistant at WMU since 2019,  he has worked in areas such as controls, perception, and localization for autonomous vehicles.





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  • 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.

M.S. Graduate Research Assistants

  • Kyle Carow, April 2021 to present

    Kyle Carow is a Master of Science in mechanical engineering student and a graduate research assistant in the Energy Efficient and Autonomous Vehicle Lab. His research focuses on utilization of fleet telematics data for heavy-duty vehicle fuel economy modeling and simulation, as well as enabling safer autonomous driving on snow covered roads through high-definition map data fusion. Carow also works in the mobility, behavior, and advanced powertrains group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where he develops advanced vehicle powertrain modeling and simulation software.

Undergraduate Research Assistants


Interested in joining the team?

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