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Avinash Balachandran

Avinash Balachandran

Director, Human Centric Driving Research

Dr. Avinash Balachandran is the Director of the Human Centric Driving Research (HCDR) division at Toyota Research Institute (TRI). The goal of the HCDR division is to create AI-driven capabilities and tools empowering humans and increasingly automated vehicles to interact more effectively and naturally. The department blends competencies in machine learning, human-machine interaction and robotics to create novel and innovative technologies for the intelligent vehicles of the future.

Prior to TRI, Dr. Avinash was one of the early engineers on Uber's self-driving program and was instrumental in developing their first autonomous service in Pittsburgh, PA (2016). He also led engineering teams focused on autonomous driving development at EV startup Faraday Future. He is passionate about bringing cutting-edge research closer to commercialization. He is also a noted public speaker, expert and adviser on topics around autonomy and human-centric research.

Dr. Avinash holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Computer Science from Cornell University. He also holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University focusing on autonomous technologies, performance driving and human interaction. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Stanford Graduate Fellowship.