We are at the beginning of a revolution that could be compared to going from the buggy whip to the steering wheel — Dr. Alain Kornhauser
By Mike Sheldrick
Alain Kornhauser, Ph.D. is Professor of Operations, Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. He is also the faculty chair of the Princeton Automated Vehicle and Engineering Group. For more than 30 years, he has been a thoughtful, insightful and often provocative thinker on advanced transportation concepts. He founded the eponymous, ALK, a leading mapping and navigation and logistics company that is now a division of Trimble, a GPS pioneer.
In 2005, Alain led Princeton’s entry in the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Grand Challenge, an event that many regard as the key catalyst for efforts to make robotic vehicle technology more accessible to civilian use.
We interviewed Alain at the Automated Vehicles Symposium, held in San Francisco in July. While he offered no dates for his belief that driverless vehicles are close at hand, he articulated the compelling economics that will propel their development and adoption. One of the most intriguing notions was his idea that far from requiring elaborate, costly infrastructure, driverless vehicles could actually function autonomously in many highway environments.