Episode 94 - Ivy League Insights: Professor Alain L. Kornhauser and the Study of Autonomy

When you’ve been studying mobility and advanced technology for over 50 years at one of the nation’s leading universities, you might just qualify as a go-to expert in the field.  

In this episode of SAE Tomorrow Today, we spoke with the legendary Dr. Alain Kornhauser, Professor, Operations Research & Financial Engineering, and Chair, Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering, Princeton University.

With a career that has spanned over half a century, Dr. Kornhauser has been studying the possibilities of rapid transit in the urban environment since the 1970s. As the progenitor of the Princeton Transportation Network Model, he was one of the early proponents of leveraging Geographic Information Systems in the study of transportation systems, and his work has had a significant effect on the North American freight railroad system. Among the many highlights of his career, he founded ALK Technologies, Inc. which brought to market the roadway and railway systems digital map database credited as being used by the majority of North American railroad and trucking companies. Among his more recent endeavors, he has turned his focus on autonomous taxi and urban transit to enable more widespread mobility.

In the discussion that follows, Dr. Kornhauser shared his thoughts on recent developments in the autonomous market, his experiences leading the Princeton team in several DARPA Challenges, how his career trajectory towards autonomy has developed over time, and where he sees the future of mobility headed. School’s now in session.

Meet Our Guest


Professor, Operations Research & Financial Engineering, Princeton University

Dr. Kornhauser is in his 50th year as a professor at Princeton University, focused on the technology and policy of automated and intelligent transport systems. He studied Aerospace Engineering at Penn State where he obtained a BS and MS, and at Princeton, earning a PhD.

He continues his basic research in transportation focused on the real-time operation of large fleets of driverless vehicles and on the development of Deep-Learning Neural Networks that safely drive road vehicles. He is editor of the Smart Driving Cars newsletter, organizer of the Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCars Summits, and Board Chair of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA). He testified before state legislative committees to establish a permitting process for testing highly automated vehicles in NJ and serves on the New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force. Dr. Kornhauser is currently in the process of creating a major Center for Automated Road Transportation Safety.

Our Host


Innovation Strategist & Co-Founder, Brulte & Company

Grayson Brulte is an autonomous mobility advisor and consultant who provides strategic counsel and political insights to help clients navigate what’s next.

As an SAE strategic partner since 2017, Grayson brings his in-depth industry knowledge to host SAE Tomorrow Today. His unique perspective factors in economics, politics and technology into one-of-kind weekly conversations with innovators changing mobility and its impact on society.

Grayson is a thought-leader who regularly provides insights to publications including Bloomberg, Reuters, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Forbes. His written opinions and insights have been featured by organizations including the Consumer Technology Association in presentations to the Federal Trade Commission.

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