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Speaker profiles


Mr. Andrew Palmer

Vehicle Line Director, McLaren Automotive Ltd

Andrew Palmer is responsible for new vehicle development at McLaren Automotive - one of the world’s most recognised and aspirational brands. Palmer joined McLaren Automotive in 2013 to assist in the development of new product and the strengthening of their world class Product Development team.

Prior to this role he was the Engineering Director of Ford’s joint venture in Russia, FordSollers, with responsibility for the development and implementation of the company’s technology, product cycle plan and strategy for the Russian market.

Mr Palmer holds a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire and a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan.

He is passionate about all forms of vehicle engineering and an avid classic car collector.

Mr. Jon Lauckner

Chief Technology Officer, General Motors

Mr Lauckner was named GM Vice President and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), effective April 1, 2012. In addition to his role as CTO, he is President of GM Ventures and also responsible for leading GM’s Global Research and Development organization.

Prior to becoming CTO, Mr Lauckner was responsible for forming General Motors Ventures, LLC, a separate subsidiary started July 1, 2010. As president, he leads a team that makes equity investments in startup companies that are developing next-generation automotive technology.

Mr Lauckner has also previously held the positions of Vice President of General Motors Global Product Planning and Vice President of Global Program Management. He joined General Motors in 1979 and held a number of positions in product engineering, powertrain engineering and product development, including international assignments in South America and Europe from 1992-2005.

Mr Lauckner received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1979. He earned a Master of Science degree in management from Stanford Business School in 1990 through the Sloan Fellowship program and attended the GM-Harvard Senior Executive Program in 2001.

Mr. Michael Hurwitz

Director of Transport Innovation, Transport for London (TfL)

Mr Hurwitz is responsible for identifying areas where disruptive business models and technology have potential to impact TfL business, developing and agreeing policies and programmes to address the complex challenges these present. He is also responsible for driving collaborations between the private sector and central Government, ensuring London stays at the forefront of innovative, integrated transport provision.

His previous role was Director of Energy, Technology and International at UK Department for Transport, where he was responsible for establishing national policies and programmes worth £1bn on low and ultra-low emission vehicles, driverless and connected cars, future fuels and international negotiation of regulations on vehicle safety and emissions.

Former roles include Founder of the cross-Government Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) as the UK Department for Transport’s Strategy Director and Policy Fellow at the Energy Futures Lab, Imperial College London. 

Dr. K. Venkatesh Prasad

Senior Technical Leader, Open Innovation, Ford Motor Company

Dr. K. Venkatesh Prasad is the Senior Technical Leader for Open Innovation and a member of the Ford Technology Advisory Board.  Effective January 1, 2017, he is also Ford’s Global Innovation Implementation Leader, Vehicle Components & Systems Engineering.

Dr. Prasad is known as Ford’s “What’s Next” guy, responsible for influencing both transformative and organic innovation at Ford. He was previously responsible for the research, architecture, standards, and proof-of-concepts development electronics and embedded software systems.

His revolutionary thinking of a contemporary vehicle as an inter-networked platform-on-wheels in early 2000 has led to the successful development of the renowned Ford SYNC® system, which has directly impacted Ford’s present vehicle production.

Before joining Ford Motor Company in 1996, Dr. 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, Dr. Prasad joined Ford to work with a small group of engineers in the development of adaptive headlamp and lane-mark detection technologies.

Dipl.-Ing. Bernhard Biermann

Vice President Europe & South America, FEV Europe GmbH

Dipl.-Ing. Biermann is Vice President Europe & South America of FEV Europe GmbH and Chairman of the Board of Directors at FEV UK Ltd.

For over ten years, Dipl.-Ing. Biermann has worked in a business development role within Europe, focusing on commercial, industrial & large engines customers in the UK and Scandinavian markets.

Prior to this he gained 8 years of experience with testing solutions in the fields of program management, project planning, production, sales and marketing.

Having joined FEV in 1990, he developed nine years of engineering expertise in gasoline thermodynamics and benchmarking, project management.

Prof. Dr. Luc Van Gool

Professor of Computer Vision, KU Leuven / ESAT-PSI

Prof. Dr. Van Gool is professor at KU Leuven in Belgium and ETH in Switzerland. He leads Computer Vision research at both, as well as the TRACE labs, collaborations with Toyota on autonomous cars.

He obtained a degree in electro-mechanical engineering at KU Leuven in 1981 and has authored over 400 papers in the field of Computer Vision. He has been involved in the organisation of several major vision conferences (e.g. ICCV'05 and '11, ECCV'14).

Prof. Dr. Van Gool was Associate Editor for leading Computer Vision journals (IJCV, T-PAMI, MVA) and is currently Editor-in-Chief for Foundations and Trends in Computer Graphics and Vision. He has received several prizes inlcuding the ISPRS Helava Award (2012), the 5-yearly Excellence Prize by the Flemish Fund for Scientific Research (2015), and the Koenderink Award (2016).

Dr. Tim Leverton

President and Chief Technical Officer, TATA Motors

Dr. Tim Leverton is President and Chief Technical Officer for Tata Motors and a member of the Tata Motors Executive Committee. In this role he is responsible for overseeing the global R&D of all Tata branded passenger cars, Trucks and Buses.

He has held a number of senior management positions with the Rover Group and Land Rover, BMW Group as Chief Engineer for the 2003 Rolls-Royce Phantom, and JCB as Group Engineering Director.  While at JCB he led the successful JCB Dieselmax project which raised the world land speed record for diesel powered cars to 350mph (563kph) at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA in August 2006.

Dr. Leverton has a BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from Aston University – UK, and an MBA and Engineering Doctorate from Warwick University – UK. He was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering – UK in 2008. In July 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by Aston University - UK.

Prof. Walter van Dyck

Area Chair Technology and Operations Management, Vlerick Business School

Prof Walter Van Dyck Chairs the Technology and Operations Management Area at Vlerick Business School. His research, teaching and counselling plays a valuable role in the field of innovation processes, innovation ecosystems and entrepreneurial business models. He studies these in global industry sectors like biopharmaceuticals and smart mobility, conducting research with companies like Ford, TNO (Netherlands), Johnson & Johnson, Roche, and MSD. 

He obtained a Doctorate of Business Administration with the highest honours from Cranfield University, School of Management (UK), a BA and MA from the Royal Military Academy Brussels, specialising in electronics and telecom, and an MBA from Vlerick. Prior to joining academia, he was Senior Strategy Consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM in the fields of R&D and innovation management, predominantly active in global pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Dr. Wolfgang Warnecke

Chief Scientist Mobility, Shell

Dr. Wolfgang Warnecke was appointed as Chief Scientist of Mobility for Shell in May 2011.

Shell’s Chief Scientists contribute internationally recognised scientific expertise and nurture innovative technology to help deliver project development and business growth.  Dr. Wolfgang’s expertise in all forms of mobility, vehicle technology, fuels and lubricants sees him advising on technology strategy, championing science, R&D and innovation, enhancing Shell’s technical reputation in the fast-changing area of mobility and looking ahead to future solutions in transportation.

Dr. Wolfgang was born in Hamburg, Germany. After studying Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Hannover (specialising in automotive combustion engines), he gained a PhD in Automotive Engineering from Hamburg Tech. University in 1987.

Since joining Shell on graduation,  Dr. Wolfgang has gained extensive experience both in Germany and the UK as a scientist and business leader in the fields of lubricant development, engine testing and vehicle technology, technical services for lubricants and in fuels marketing. He has led both automotive fuels and lubricants development in Hamburg before global management roles in lubricants and, more recently, retail and automotive fuels development.

Dr. Wolfgang’s expertise in engine technology and automotive products has earned him extensive recognition across the automotive industry as well as by academia. He has made close to 100 publications, and owns a wide global network across the global automotive industry, including the motorsport industry. As an example of his involvement and expertise in global motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang has also been a member of the FIA’s WEC Endurance Commission which develops the sporting regulations for the World Endurance Championship.

In 2005,  Dr. Wolfgang, together with Dr. Wolfgang Steiger of Volkswagen was awarded the 'Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize', considered by many to be the world's most prestigious award for automotive engineers, for their work on synthetic fuels development.

Dipl.-Ing. Remi Bastien

Vice President, Automobile Prospective, Renault Group

Dipl.-Ing. Bastien is Vice President for Automotive Prospective at Renault Groupe, reporting to the EVP engineering. Remi joined Renault in 1982, where his areas of responsibilities developed to include powertrain engineering on environment, performance and electronics until 2002.

As Vice President from 2002-07, he was in charge of EMS development and calibration for power-train, later becoming Deputy to the SVP for powertrain engineering until 2008. He was Chairman of Electronic and Automatism of the RENAULT network from 2006-2009 (cross functional)

He then became Vice President for Research and Innovation for RENAULT Group between 2009-15, before becoming Global Director for Autonomous Driving at the Renault/Nissan Alliance between 2015-16.

He is Chairman of VEDECOM (French cooperative research institute, a Member of the Automotive Research Council of the French Automotive Platform and also a Member of the EUCAR council (former chairman in 2012).