Picture of Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian

Executive Director Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies - College of Engineering, Chief Mobility Research & Development Officer - Alabama Transportation Institute

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

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  • B.Tech.(Hons), Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, 1973
  • ME: Dipl.-Ing., Mechanical/Automotive Engineering, Technical University of Karlsruhe, 1977
  • PhD.: Dr.-Ing, Mechanical/Automotive Engineering, Technical University of Karlsruhe, 1983


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bharat Balasubramanian, known as Prof. Bharat in Germany and Dr. B in USA, was born and raised in India and attained a 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-Benz AG in the Mercedes-Benz (MB) Cars Division.

He rose up the ranks at MB and in 1997 was promoted to Vice President in MB Cars R&D, becoming 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. He also headed MB R&D international operations, including North America, India and China.

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

After retiring from Mercedes-Benz/Daimler in 2012, Dr. B joined the University of Alabama (UA) in Tuscaloosa, which has a close relationship with the Mercedes-Banz US International SUV Plant, sole manufacturers of the MB GLE and GLS models, also located in Tuscaloosa County. His multi-disciplinary team has won over $20 Million of US federal grants on CAE research in the 2022/2023 time frame.

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)

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.