K. Venkatesh Prasad

Ford Motor Company, USA    

Title: Automobiles and Mobility Solutions


As human intelligence, imagination & ingenuity continue to create advancements in machine-intelligence, we have new ways to serve the mobility needs of our planet. With a world population of about 7.6 billion and immense human and machine intelligence at our disposal, we have the opportunity to create novel experiences and related services associated with traveling from “A” to “B.” Thanks in no small part to advancements in pattern recognition, computer vision and image processing, automobiles are getting “smart” and growing more aware of their surroundings. The world is also getting “smart.” In this talk, we outline some key applications areas of machine intelligence to applications, in the context of addressing human mobility needs.


K. Venkatesh Prasad is the Senior Technical Leader for Mobility and a member of the Ford Technology Advisory Board for Open Innovation. Prior to this role, he was Ford’s Global Innovation Implementation Leader, Vehicle Components & Systems Engineering and during a 3-year period help establish eight makerspaces for employee-innovation across global engineering centers. In the earlier years, Prasad applied computer vision, based on early CMOS cameras, to several automobile applications including automatic headlamp detection. In 2011, Prasad architected OpenXC, the industry’s first open-source hardware and open-source software platform, an “innovator’s toolkit,” which launched in 2013 and today is one of the tools used by Ford employee-innovators to design, test and release products and by researchers and experimenters the world over. He also co-founded Ford’s startup-lab in 2012 as a 5-person office; a year later, it scaled to become Ford’s Innovation Center Palo Alto and today is a 150-person operation. Prasad earned a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Rutgers University in 1990, an M.S. from Washington State University, and engineering degrees from IIT-Madras and NIT-Trichy in India. He has more than 25 years of collaborative experience with universities, startups, automotive suppliers and technology firms. He has co-edited three issues of the Proceedings of the IEEE (on Automotive Technologies; Aerospace and Automotive Software and Cyber-Physical Systems). Prior to coming to Dearborn, Michigan, in 1996, Prasad worked in Menlo Park, California (at Ricoh Innovations) and before that in Pasadena, California (at Caltech and, as a faculty affiliate, at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

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