Prof. Marco Gruteser received the 2014 Award for Outstanding Engineering Faculty


This award is an important opportunity for the Rutgers Engineering community to recognize the special achievements and contributions of its dedicated faculty members.

This is the second year in a row that an ECE Faculty received this award; Dr. Wade Trappe was recipient of the   2013 Outstanding Engineering Faculty Award.

Prof. Gruteser is widely recognized for contributions to emerging Internet-connected cars, spanning topics from scalable car-to-car communication networks, over security and privacy in such systems, to apps that sense real-time traffic, parking information, or driver distraction.

In particular, he has developed pioneering techniques for enhancing the privacy of location data, and has demonstrated how they can be incorporated into real-time traffic or other vehicle telematics systems. This privacy work was cited in a letter from Senators Franken and Coons urging the car industry to reconsider their privacy practices.

He further conceived and directed a project to conduct a security and privacy evaluation of wireless systems in cars, using the tire pressure monitoring system as a case study. This project was conducted collaboratively with Prof. Wade Trappe (RU ECE) and Prof. Wenyuan Xu (Univ of South Carolina).

The identified security vulnerabilities generated significant press coverage and interest beyond the scientific computer security community, culminating in a national CNN TV segment with demonstrations and interviews. This study contributed to a heightened awareness for securing in-vehicle systems and has influenced decisions at major car makers and automotive standards groups.

Prof. Gruteser further invented an app with Prof. Rich Martin (RU CS) and Prof. Yingying Chen (Stevens) that allows a mobile phone to sense whether it is used by a driver and to adjust its behavior to reduce distractions (e.g., silence incoming text messages). This system relies on fine-grained localization of the phone inside the car to distinguish a driver’s phone from a passenger’s phone. This project received a best paper award from the ACM’s most significant publication venue in mobile computing (ACM MobiCom), led to an Innovator’s award from the NJ Inventors Hall of Fame, and gained considerable press coverage – even a joke in Jay Leno’s tonight show.

Beyond these highlights, testament to the impact and recognition of his overall body of work are a continuous stream of prize papers, keynotes, citations, press coverage, well-placed Ph.D. graduates, and research funding -- he has lead or contributed to projects totaling about $9.5 million for Rutgers University. He has published more than 100 articles and patents, including three significant prize papers. Two of them are consecutive best paper awards at the ACM SIGMOBILE flagship conference MobiCom. He has delivered four keynotes at IEEE conferences and various workshops and served as a panel moderator or panelist at numerous conferences.

Dr. Gruteser was the primary advisor for 8 graduated Ph.D. students, who have gone on to faculty or research positions at institutions such as the University of Colorado – Denver, AT&T Labs, Intel Labs, NEC Labs, and Nokia Research. He has further served as principal investigator on projects with over $3.5 million dollars support, including over $2 million from the National Science Foundation and $1.4 million from industry. He has also participated as co-principal investigator on projects surpassing another $6 million for Rutgers University.