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Dr. John Leonard

Dr. John Leonard

Technical Advisor

Dr. John Leonard serves as a Technical Advisor at Toyota Research Institute (TRI), where he conducts research in Human-Interactive Driving and Human-Centric AI technologies.

Dr. Leonard is the Samuel C. Collins Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering at MIT, where he was recently appointed as Associate Department Head for Education. He is also a member of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). His research addresses the problems of navigation and mapping for autonomous mobile robots and underwater vehicles.

Dr. Leonard earned a B.S.E.E. in Electrical Engineering and Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987 and a D.Phil. in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford in 1994. He joined the MIT faculty in 1996 after five years as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Scientist in the MIT Sea Grant Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Laboratory. 

Beyond his academic work, he has served as an associate editor of the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering and of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation. He was the team leader for MIT's DARPA Urban Challenge team, which was one of eleven teams to qualify for the Urban Challenge final event and one of six teams to complete the race. He is the recipient of an NSF Career Award (1998), an E.T.S. Walton Visitor Award from Science Foundation Ireland (2004), the King-Sun Fu Memorial Best Transactions on Robotics Paper Award (2006), an IEEE Fellow (2014), and an AAAS Fellow (2019). 

Dr. Leonard is a sought-after expert in his field and is often asked to share his insights and expert opinion in the media. He has appeared in New York Times, MIT Technology Review, Forbes, VentureBeat, Bloomberg, and more.