Laureate 2007

Laureate 2007

Dr. Sebastian Thrun, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University, has been honored with the Braunschweig Research Prize 2007 for his achievements in sensors, sensor fusion, artificial intelligence, and driver assistance systems.

The 40-year old scientist has received the citation for his special interdisciplinary research achievements in the design and building of an unmanned robotic car, which won the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005, a race among autonomous robotic vehicles.

Autonomes Roboterfahrzeug 'Junior'© Foto: Sebastian Thrun

Thrun and his research team faced a large and complex challenge in the Grand Challenge 2005. An unmanned robotic car was to cover a stretch of 132 miles through rough terrain in the Mojave Desert in the U.S. Southwest. Special research results were necessary to design the self-steering vehicle and to adapt the radar sensory apparatus to the difficult conditions of the competition. Prof. Thrun developed his findings in close collaboration with the research department of Volkswagen AG. The research strategy was developed on the basis of robust algorithms for the identification of the rough driving terrain, and in the end that strategy was the decisive factor in winning the race. The vehicle itself was later built in cooperation with associates from the Braunschweig region in the workshops of the Wolfsburg research concern, and stood out in the competition for its very high reliability of vehicle components.

About Dr. Sebastian Thrun Career:

Born 1967 in Solingen, Germany

1988 initial degree (B.Sc.) in informatics, economics, and medicine, University of Hildesheim, Germany

1993 advanced degree (M.Sc.) in informatics and statistics, University of Bonn, Germany

1995 final degree (Ph.D.) in informatics and statistics, University of Bonn

1995-1998 Research Computer Scientist, Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon University

1998-2003 Assistant Professor and from 2001 Associate Professor of computer science, robotics and automated learning and discovery, Carnegie Mellon University.

2003-present Associate Professor of computer science and (since 2006) electrical engineering, Stanford University.

Since 2004 Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL)


1994 Second place, AAAI autonomous mobile robot competition.

1996 First place, AAAI autonomous mobile robot competition.

1998 Best conference paper, National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

1999-2003 NSF CAREER

1999 Best conference paper, German Conference of the German Society for Pattern Recognition (DAGM).

2000 Best conference paper, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).

2001 Olympus award, German Society for Pattern Recognition (DAGM) 2002 Finmeccanica endowed faculty chair, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.

2003 Best conference paper, International Conference of Field and Service Robotics (FSR). Best conference paper, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). Best student conference paper, International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS).

2003-2006 Reid and Polly Anderson Scholar and (until 2004) David Filo and Jerry Yang Faculty Scholar, Stanford School of Engineering.

2004 Honorable mention, 2004 IJCAI-JAIR best paper prize.

2005 Leader of the Stanford Racing Team that won the DARPA Grand Challenge.

2006 Vance D. and Arlene C. Coffman Scholar II, Stanford School of Engineering.

2006 World Technology Award and Fellow (category: IT-software), World Technology Network. Elected AAAI Fellow (American Association of Artificial Intelligence). Elected ECCAI Fellow (European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence).

2007 Member, National Academy of Engineering

Links Sebastian Thruns homepage (opens in a new tab)

Explanations and hints

Picture credits

  • Foto: Sebastian Thrun