Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Oct. 11 that he has named Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan as his adviser for science and technology, signing an executive order creating the Institute of Automated Mobility.
The IAM is a new consortium of private sector companies, public officials and university research faculty that will collaborate on state-of-the-art research and testing center in Arizona.
In this role, Panchanathan will manage IAM’s corporate engagement strategy, helping partners to identify their research areas and define projects, then directing those projects to teams of faculty from Arizona’s public universities.
“I am honored to serve Governor Ducey, the state of Arizona and IAM in the role of Advisor for Science & Technology,” said Panchanathan in a statement. “IAM will provide a concierge style service designed to help partners easily and effectively execute their R&D projects. The truly comprehensive operating model combined with a commitment to sharing data and best practices will ensure projects are able to achieve intellectual, economic development and societal outcomes.”
Ducey said the institute will “bring together global industry leaders, a public sector team and the brightest minds in academia, focused on advancing all aspects of automated vehicle science, safety and policy.”
The governor added: “Arizona is committed to providing the leadership and knowledge necessary to integrate these technologies into the world’s transportation systems.”
IAM will be overseen by the Arizona Commerce Authority and brings together the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, all three Arizona universities – Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University – and private industry, with Intel Corporation serving as the first private-sector founding partner.
At full build-out, IAM will consist of facilities designed for complex research and testing scenarios, with a simulation lab as well as technology-neutral physical infrastructure offering multiple route configurations, intersections, signage, and traffic signals, a news release said.
A Traffic Incident Management center designed and run by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Arizona Department of Public Safety will integrate law enforcement and first responders with automated vehicle technologies unlike any other location in the country.
Panchanathan was recently in the news for being honored by the National Science Foundation with a $3 million grant in which he will focus on citizen-centered smart cities and smart living (see India-West article here).
The Indian American was the founding director of the School of Computing and Informatics and was instrumental in founding the Biomedical Informatics Department at ASU. He also served as the chair of the computer science and engineering department.
He founded the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at ASU. CUbiC’s flagship project iCARE, for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, won the Governor’s Innovator of the Year-Academia Award in November 2004.
In 2014, Panchanathan was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. National Science Board, where he is the former chair of the Committee on Strategy. He was appointed by former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, his bio said.
Panchanathan is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, where he is also vice president for membership and strategic initiatives. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Society of Optical Engineering.
He is currently serving as the chair of the Council on Research within the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Panchanathan holds a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Ottawa in Canada; an M.Tech in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras; a B.E. in electronics and communication engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; and a B.Sc. in physics from the University of Madras in India.