Automobiles are complex cyber-physical systems, shaped by consumer-demands, regulated by society and brought to market by large industrial eco-systems. Yet, in the past few years there have been some exciting transformations in the design of automobiles that have allowed the relatively long life-cycle “built-in” technologies to embrace fast-cycle “brought-in” techologies such as those associated with cellular phones & arguably faster-cycle “beamed-in” technologies such as cloud-based navigation services. What is inside a modern automobile and can you write a simple program to say “hello car,” and have it say “hello world?” What are some of the challenges and some exciting opportunities of being able to do so? What if we could place toolkits in the hands of students to develop applications? This talk will address these questions, beginning with the primal sketches of both electronic networks & software systems within automobiles and in networks of automobiles, set against the backdrop of real-world “connected automobile” examples. We will also describe a toolkit that was developed for usage by students, and the creative outcome of this approach that resulted in a roadtrip Michigan to California in the summer of 2010.
K. Venkatesh Prasad is the Group and Senior Technical Leader for Electrical & Electronics, at Ford Motor Company. He is a member of Ford's Technology Advisory Board, a group of the twelve senior most internal technology advisors, reporting to the Ford's CTO. Prasad received the B.E. degree from the University of Madras (NIT-Trichy) in 1980, the M.S.E.E. degree from IIT, Madras, in 1984, the M.S.E.E. degree from Washington State University, Pullman, in 1987, and the Ph.D. degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, in 1990, all broadly in the area of Electrical & Computer Engineering. He is the founder of Ford Motor Company’s Infotronics Technologies Group. In this capacity, he has lead teams that have transferred a series of technologies to high-volume automotive production. In 2009, he accepted the Ford Motor Company's highest award for cross-functional collaboration, the President's Technology award, on behalf of Research & Advanced Engineering organization, for technical contributions that lead to the production of Ford's SYNC connectivity technology. He has over 30 journal, conference and book chapter publications and holds six patents. He has delivered over 60 invited lectures, keynotes, and seminars at universities and professional society meetings. He is on the advisory board of several private-public academic partnerships involving academia, the government and industry, including the Ford-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Strategic Alliance, the EECS Department at Northwestern University and the ECE Department at Michigan State University, where he is the Chair of the Visiting Committee. From 1996 to 1998, he lead research in the area of electronic imaging, pattern recognition, and associated vehicle system integration to support active vehicle safety and security applications. From 1992 to 1996, he was a Senior Research Scientist at the Ricoh California Research Center, Menlo Park, CA. From 1990 to 1992, he was a Postdoctoral Associate at Rutgers, a Visiting Researcher at the Caltech, and a Caltech faculty-affiliate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. Dr. Prasad is a senior member of the IEEE, a member of the ACM, SAE International, a life-member of Sigma Xi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Tau Beta Pi.