Automobiles as Technology Platforms for a Personal Mobility Experience and a Better World

Dr. K. Venkatesh Prasad
Ford Motor Company

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 10:00am - 12:00pm

CoRE Building Auditorium

Automobiles as Technology Platforms for a Personal Mobility Experience and a Better World

With more than a billion cars, trucks and buses on this planet and a relentless growth to the second billion, there is an immense and immediate opportunity for us all in the public, academic and private sectors to come together to make a lasting difference.

Automobiles pose a number of design challenges: they must jointly serve the desires of the consumer and the demands of society; they need to have an emotive appeal and yet must last at least 10 years or 150,000 miles, as a tightly regulated product; they are simultaneously complex cyber-physical systems and components of a much larger system-of-systems. Modern automobiles have transformed themselves into technology platforms to address these challenges and yet there is need to do much more so they can actively help reduce congestion, avoid or mitigate accidents, reduce fuel consumption, while offering all the conveniences of being digitally connected such as being able to call, hands-free, find parking and park, and being easily reprogrammable, to be rented or shared with little human intermediation.

The purpose of this talk is to share the excitement of designing automobiles as information and communication technology platforms and to stimulate a discussion of related cross-disciplinary collaboration opportunities.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. K. Venkatesh Prasad (class of 1990) is group and senior technical leader of Vehicle Design and Infotronics for Ford Research and Innovation. He is member of Ford’s 12-person global Technology Advisory Board, chaired by the CTO. Dr. Prasad is responsible for the research, architecture, standards, applications development and vehicle system integration of electrical, electronics and embedded software technologies.

Before joining Ford Motor Company in 1996, Prasad worked as a senior scientist at RICOH Innovations in Menlo Park, Calif., developing automatic "lip reading" as a novel human-machine interface. In addition, he was at Caltech and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where he worked on the world's first telerobotic visual surface inspection system to help design the International Space Station.

Attracted by an open-ended challenge to discover ways to integrate "intelligence" into cars and trucks, Prasad joined Ford to work with a small group of engineers in the development of adaptive headlamp and lane-mark detection technologies.