Transportation as we know it is going to be transformed over the next decade. While electrification is advancing and gradually replacing internal combustion engines, automation and driverless vehicles are considered a significant transformation of transportation. While much of the focus of the public has been on the high profile tests of passenger vehicles and their high profile accidents, a quiet transformation to automation has been happening in the automation of medium and heavy duty freight as well as industrial fleets. This symposium will discuss the challenges, opportunities and the pace of change in automation of passenger and freight as well as industrial fleet vehicles.
Greg Bean is the Executive Director of the Gutierrez Energy Management Institute in the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. Prior to joining Bauer, he spent over thirty years in global oil and gas management consulting after starting his energy career with ExxonMobil. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University.
Cochran works with transit agencies to promote transit bus electrification in the Southwest and leads Proterra’s customer engagement on automation. For more than 10 years, she has worked to research and deploy new transit technologies, working at Houston METRO and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, where she secured funding for the first autonomous vehicle/connected vehicle test bed for public transit and worked to help people with disabilities better navigate public transit systems.
Cochran has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas San Antonio.
Sola Lawal is product operations manager at Nuro, a California-based robotics company. He works with Nuro’s local partners, including Kroger, to manage delivery operations in Houston, where he is based. Lawal oversees community outreach to educate residents about the company and its fleet of autonomous vehicles. He previously worked at Uber, managing operations in West Africa and the United States, and served in a number of engineering roles at Dow Chemical.
Lawal earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship and strategy from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, rocket scientist and pilot. She spent 16 years at NASA, where she led the design of propulsion and landing systems for deep space, Mars and earth re-entry. She later served as senior vice president of systems engineering at Virgin Hyperloop One and is currently co-founder and chief product officer of Airspace Experience Technologies, an aviation technology start-up that is developing an electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing system.
Sengupta received her master’s degree and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California, where she is a research associate professor of astronautics.
Reed’s role with Texas Central has been a continuation of her career working on transformative projects in critical infrastructure, focused on the potential offered by a high-speed passenger train connecting Greater Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, the fourth and fifth largest economies in the country.
Reed previously worked at AT&T, where she served as regional vice president and helped facilitate network deployments of high-speed internet, mobility networks and communication infrastructure. At Texas Central, her responsibilities include public policy, outreach, government relations and branding, media and communications.
A native Texan, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Texas A&M University.