Sebastian Thrun

Sebastian Thrun is Google Fellow and Research Professor of computer science at Stanford University. He is also a co-founder of Know It, which brings free online education to the world. Thrun received his MSc PhD from the University of Bonn in Germany, in 1993 and 1995, respectively. Before joining Stanford in 2003, Thrun taught at Carnegie Mellon University for eight years.

Thrun's research focuses on robotics and large scale imaging. In 2005, Thrun won the DARPA Grand Challenge, a historical autonomous robot race through the Mojave Desert. This watershed victory proved for the first time, that sustained robotic driving would be possible in unrehearsed, punishing desert terrain. Stanley, the winning robot, is now part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Thrun moved on to co-invent Google Street View, through a Stanford spin-out that was acquired by Google.

Thrun is a recognized leader and innovator. In a cover article, Wired Magazine crowned his robotics work "best of all times". Scientific American included him in its list of 50 technology and policy leaders. Thrun has been featured in the Forbes Magazine E-gang, and in 2004 he was named as one of the "Brilliant Ten" by Popular Science. At age 39, he was elected into the National Academy of Engineering and into the German Academy of Sciences, as one of the youngest inductees ever.

Thrun won numerous prices and awards. He authored over 350 scientific papers and 11 books; and he founded four companies. He is widely regarded as one of the key pioneers of the scientific field of probabilistic robotics, a new mainstream approach to robotics software design. Thrun is a ardent advocate of robotic technology to advance the field of transportation, and he is a frequent invited speakers at international venues in technology and business.

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