Dr. David J. Atkinson
Head of Systems & Technology and Chief Research Scientist for Artificial Intelligence
Dr. David J. Atkinson is Head of Systems & Technology and Chief Research Scientist for Artificial Intelligence at Continental’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 systems and autonomous vehicles.
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 autonomous robotic systems. Previously, Atkinson worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology 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 1990s, Atkinson was co-founder of a successful startup that provided Internet-based supply-chain management services to the electronics industry.
Atkinson received a Doctor of Technology (D. Tech.) in Computer Systems Engineering from Chalmers University of Sweden in Göteborg, Sweden, dual Master of Science and Master of Philosophy degrees in Computer Science/Artificial Intelligence from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Michigan.
Atkinson currently resides in the San Francisco bay area.
The Pop in your Job: What drives you - What is your passion?
The application of artificial intelligence for intelligent assisted and autonomous vehicles is very motivating for me because it represents an opportunity to save lives and bring enormous social benefits to people all over the world. Moreover, it creates an environment for new ideas and that is the greatest thrill of all.