Clemson’s ICAR hires self-driving car researcher

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Clemson University has hired two new academic “rock stars,” and one of them is conducting research on computer-driven vehicles.

Venkat Krovi is the new Michelin Endowed Chair in Vehicle Automation at Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville (ICAR).

He replaces Todd Hubing, who was the Michelin endowed chair at ICAR but is now running LearnEMC, an e-learning company in Wisconsin.

Krovi, a mechanical engineer and robotics expert, was at the University of Buffalo before joining Clemson’s automotive engineering department.

One puzzle he’s trying to help solve is how computer-driven, or autonomous, vehicles can intermingle with vehicles driven by humans.

“Humans are the biggest risk factor, whether it’s eating, texting, distracted driving of any sort,” the professor said in a press release announcing his arrival.

As part of his work on autonomous vehicles, Krovi plans a “racing challenge” with small, remote-controlled cars speeding on a warehouse-sized track. He sees it as way to get teams of students and faculty members from various disciplines working together, according to the press release from Clemson.

At Clemson’s business college, Zeki Simsek is the new Gressette Chair of Business Strategy and Planning.

The newly created endowed professorship was established through an unspecified gift from the family of the late Lawrence M. Gressette, a longtime Clemson trustee and former chief executive SCANA Corp., an electric and natural gas utility based in Cayce.

Simsek, associate editor of the Academy of Management Journal, joined Clemson’s department of business management from the University of Connecticut, where he got his doctorate in 2002, according to a press release announcing his arrival.

A scholarly paper published in the New England Journal of Entrepreneurship earlier this year ranked Simsek as the eighth-most published author in seven academic journals about business management between 2000 and 2015.

His duties at Clemson include teaching at the MBA school in downtown Greenville and helping design a new doctorate in management focused on strategy, leadership and entrepreneurship.

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