Larry Burns, ITS alumnus, former vice president of research and development for General Motors, and a champion of alternative fuel systems for vehicles, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional honors bestowed upon an engineer.
Burns, who also served on the ITS advisory board for many years prior to his retirement from GM in 2009, was a tireless champion of vehicle electrification, autonomous driving, connected vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell technology.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the General Motors Institute, he went on to the University of Michigan where he obtained a master’s degree in engineering and public policy. He holds a doctorate in civil engineering from UC Berkeley, where his advisor was former ITS Director Bill Garrison.
“Larry loved playing with ideas,” recalled Garrison. “He was just delighted by ideas.”
Carlos Daganzo, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, first met Burns more than 30 years ago when Daganzo consulted for the Transportation Systems Group of the General Motors Laboratories in Michigan. He quickly realized Burns as an ‘out-of-the-box’ thinker and a great motivator.
Watch Larry Burns on the future of cars at TED in 2005 here.