David J. Atkinson

photo of David AtkinsonDr. David J. Atkinson is Head of Systems & Technology and Chief Scientist for Artificial Intelligence at Continental Automotive Group’s Silicon Valley Research & Development Center. He has held this position since May 2017 and oversees systems and technology projects for future transportation and mobility systems, with a focus on intelligent driver assistance, autonomous vehicles, and smart cities.

Dr. Atkinson’s career spans basic research in Artificial Intelligence to senior executive positions in management of research and technology. Before joining Continental, he worked at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, where he led research projects in the area of trustworthy autonomous robotic systems. Previously, Dr. Atkinson worked twenty years for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech in multiple positions of increasing technical management responsibility. He was a founder of NASA’s Artificial Intelligence program and made significant contributions to spacecraft autonomy, planetary exploration robotics and spacecraft control center automation. An entrepreneur in the early 1990’s, Dr. Atkinson was co-founder of a successful startup that provided Internet-based supply-chain management services to the electronics industry.

Atkinson received the Doctor of Technology (D. Tech.) and was awarded the rank of Docent in Computer Systems Engineering from Chalmers University of Sweden in Göteborg, Sweden. He received dual Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degrees in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from Yale University and the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Atkinson currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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