Picture of Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian

Professor, Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies, Chief Mobility Research and Development Officer for Alabama Transportation Institute

Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Alabama Transportation Institute

3029-G SERC
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  • B.Tech.(Hons), Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, 1973
  • Dipl.Eng., Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Karlsruhe, 1977
  • Eng.D., Technical University of Karlsruhe, 1983


Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian, or Dr. B as he is known, was born and raised in India and attained an honors degree in mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, located in Mumbai. He then followed his passion for automotive design to one of its epicenters — Germany — where he went on to earn a master’s and then a doctorate in engineering and launched a 38-year career in research and development with Daimler AG in the Mercedes-Benz Cars Division.

In his early career, Dr. B was responsible for numerical simulation and analysis of automatic transmissions and power steering systems. He rose up the ranks at Mercedes-Benz and in 1997 was promoted to vice president in research and development. He was the first non-German VP at R&D in the history of the company.

In 2006, he was given additional responsibility as VP of Daimler’s group research and advanced engineering, responsible for telematics and connectivity, safety and automated driving, electric and electronic systems and material and manufacturing technologies. He also restructured and headed MB R&D operations outside Germany, including North America, India and China.

Dr. B was the initiator and champion of automated driving, connected vehicles, electric cars and carbon fiber reinforced polymer, or CFRP, light weighting at Daimler. He founded the collaboration between Tesla and Daimler and has remained friends with Elon Musk since 2007.

As executive director, Dr. B currently heads the cross-disciplinary Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies at UA with research thrusts in electric vehicles, connected and automated vehicles and their associated infrastructure.

Honors and Awards

  • Redtenbacher Prize for the best student in 1977, Technical University of Karlsruhe.
  • Best GPA-Average in the School of Engineering since the 125 years of existence of the Technical University of Karlsruhe.
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award 1997, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.
  • Selected as one of the top 101 graduates of all the IITs in the last 50 years. (Global 101 – IIT: India’s Intellectual Treasures by Ranjan Pant, ISBN 0-9747393-0-8)
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, 1997
  • Redtenbacher Prize for the Best Student, Technical University of Karlsruhe, 1977

Areas of Research

Latest Publications

  • Bharat Balasubramanian, “The Road Ahead – Automotive Emerging Technologies and Consequences”, Seminar at Advanced Automotive Research Center, Seoul National University, June 10, Seoul/South Korea, 2019.
  • Bharat Balasubramanian, “New Automotive Technologies”, 2019 International Symposium on Intelligent Transportation and Intelligent Control under Network Security, May 13, Zhuzhou/Hunan Province, China, 2019.
  • Bharat Balasubramanian, “Safety First – The Evolution of Automated Driving”, Plenary speech at 2018 Alabama Insurance Day, October 10, Tuscaloosa/Alabama, 2018.
  • Bharat Balasubramanian, “Safety First – The Future of Automated Driving”, Keynote speech at PAN-IIT NC Chapter, June 8, Raleigh/North Carolina, 2018.
  • Bharat Balasubramanian, “Automatisiertes Fahren in Amerika – Status und Ausblick”, Keynote speech at the VDI-Konferenz – Der Fahrer im 21. Jahrhundert, November 22, Braunschweig/Germany, 2017.