University of California San Diego Distinguished Professor Mohan Trivedi in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department has accepted the Maheshwari Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The award is presented every other year by the LK Maheshwari Foundation to an alum of the university working in the areas of Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Instrumentation. The foundation was established in 2010 to promote education and research in engineering.
“It was my first visit back to my alma mater in India after almost 43 years,” said Trivedi, after traveling to receive the award in January. “It was a very touching event, felt almost like a pilgrimage. I spent two days on campus, which gave me the opportunity to tour their facilities, meet many of the current graduate students and faculty, and speak with administrators.” Those administrators included Professor S.C. Sivasubramanian, the dean of the institute, as well as Professor Navneet Gupta, Secretary of the LK Maheshwari Foundation.
“BITS Pilani is a unique educational institution,” added Trivedi, a senior academic participant in Calit2's Qualcomm Institute from its inception in 2000.. “Originally established in pre-independence days in India, in a very small town, it quickly acquired a nationwide reputation as a high- quality educational institute. I feel fortunate that I was initiated into the engineering profession by some of the most dedicated, demanding, and inspiring teachers at BITS Pilani (including Professor Maheshwari). They have successfully maintained and even enhanced the quality of teaching, curriculum and facilities. Over the years, BITS alums have made major contributions not only to the Indian technical and scientific enterprise, but also to industry and universities in the United States. Every year, I look forward to having a new pool of bright and motivated BITS graduates who come to UC San Diego for their graduate studies. ”
According to Trivedi, he took advantage of the trip to visit several other educational institutions, including a professional college of architecture for women, and two schools with family ties: a computer-information science college for women (named after Trivedi’s parents) and a K-12 school founded by his grandfather in 1937.
Trivedi earned his bachelor’s degree in electronics (with honors) from the Pilani campus in 1974, before going on to complete his Ph.D. from Utah State University in 1979 (from which he subsequently received Utah State College of Engineering’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1993).
Since joining the UC San Diego faculty in 1995 after faculty positions at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Louisiana State University, Trivedi established the Computer Vision and Robotics Research (CVRR) Laboratory, and later became founding director of UC San Diego’s Laboratory for Intelligent and Safe Automobiles (LISA) as well.
As part of the award ceremonies, Trivedi delivered a lecture on his current research. In it, Trivedi explored “Self-Driving Vehicles: A Quest for Human-Robot Cohabitation.” Trivedi’s research has influenced the development of highly automated vehicles, advanced driver-assistance systems, intelligent systems for applications in homeland security, remote sensing, robotics, intelligent transportation, and assistive technologies. Currently, Trivedi and his team are pursuing research into highly-automated vehicles, machine perception, machine learning, human-robot interactivity, driver assistance, active safety and intelligent transportation systems.
The ECE professor has also served on a panel dealing with the legal and technology issues of video surveillance organized by the Constitution Project in Washington, D.C., particularly arising out of a series of projects involving computer vision for surveillance at borders and highways. He was also an expert member of a panel discussing Strategic Highway Research at the invitation of the U.S. National Academies’ Transportation Research Board.
As a Distinguished Professor of Engineering in UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering, Trivedi has mentored over 30 doctoral, 15 postdoctoral, and 100 master’s degree scholars as well as a large number of undergraduates. He also serves as a consultant to industry and government agencies in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including major auto manufacturers. Trivedi has published over 500 papers and more than a dozen books, edited volumes and video proceedings and his team is recognized as the most prolific and most influential in the Intelligent Transportation and Intelligent Vehicles field. Over 20 papers coauthored with his students have won “best” or “finalist” paper awards, and Trivedi has delivered more than 100 keynote or plenary talks at major conferences and institutes all over the world.
For his research contributions, Trivedi has earned a number of awards, including the IEEE ITS Society’s Outstanding Research Award (the society’s top award) in 2013, and he shared in his lab’s 2015 Institutional LEAD Award (also from the IEEE ITS Society). Trivedi’s other honors include the IEEE Computer Society Pioneer Award (Technical Activity) and Meritorious Service Awards. In recognition of his contributions in organizing and promoting discussion platforms for non-violent means for conflict resolution, Trivedi was named a Paul Harris Fellow (2015) by the Rotary Club of Carlsbad.