AV Summit 2019 - Speakers

ROBOTICA AV Summit 2019
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Jeff Adams
Co-Founder, UAS Development

President, AUVSI New England

Jeff joined AUVSI in 2013 looking for industry connections and partnerships as he and his partners launch UAS Development Inc, a small UAS R&D firm focused on localized remote pilot systems for enhanced payload and mission requirements.

UAS Development continues to explore solutions for sophisticated and demanding vehicle/asset integrations and provides engineering design services along with systems validation testing with a variety of air-frame platforms.

Jeff was appointed AUVSI New England Chapter President in 2017, and serves on several technology advisory groups, including the national Unmanned Maritime Advisory Council.


James Sproul
CRO, The Sproul Company
AUVSI New England Chapter Director

James Sproul is an AUVSI New England Chapter Director and CRO of The Sproul Company headquartered in Boston’s North End.
As Founder of The Sproul Company (TSC) in 1999, Jim has a rich history of rainmaking for engineering companies by networking, identifying and closing new business opportunities.

An active volunteer & member of AUVSI-New England, Sproul is the 2019 Autonomous Vehicle Summit Program Chair and prior to this was AUVSI-New England’s Robotica 2016 Session & Speaker Chair. Jim is highly active in numerous regional Automated & Autonomous Vehicle working groups and organizations. See https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimsproul for a complete work & volunteer history.

A dual resident of the North End and Cape Cod and graduate of the University of Connecticut, Jim enjoys family life with his wife Molly, three children and five grandchildren. 



Eric N Balles, Sc.D.
Managing Director – Transport & Energy, DRAPER

Dr. Eric Balles joined Draper in 2011 to launch and build a commercial business focused on solving the most difficult issues facing the transportation and energy sectors. He has overall responsibility for these commercial areas at Draper including strategic planning, customer relationship, business development, project execution and financial performance. Dr. Balles’ career spans several industry sectors including automotive, electricity and oil & gas. He brings considerable commercial experience to the position, most recently having senior management roles at Babcock Power including COO of its environmental subsidiary (~$500M/y), President and CEO of a joint venture to develop utility-scale carbon capture, and Sr. VP of Technology and Engineering. He started his career in the automotive industry and has worked extensively with auto makers and tier one suppliers in North America, Europe and Asia. Dr. Balles earned S.B., S.M. and Sc.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Chris Bessette
Self-driving Vehicle Program Manager, Draper

Since 2016, Chris has been a Program Manager in Draper’s Energy & Transport Office focused on delivering next generation technologies for self-driving cars.  Some notable accomplishments during this time include development of a novel approach to automotive LiDAR, as well as new algorithms for perception and localization.  In addition, Chris was the Program Manager responsible for Draper’s work successfully applying AI tools to Investment Banks. 

Previously, Chris held various roles in technical management, focused on development of missile and submarine guidance systems for challenging GPS-denied environments.  Chris has a B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. 

Chris is an PMI-Certified Project Manager and currently resides in Melrose, MA with his wife Jessica, and three children:  Ben, Ethan and Alexandra.


Keynote Speakers


Xavier Mosquet
Senior Partner and Managing Director
Boston Consulting Group

Xavier is a senior partner and managing director of Boston Consulting Group. In 2005, Xavier opened and served as leader of the BCG Detroit office.  He served as global leader of BCG’s Automotive practice for seven years, and focuses on automotive strategy and operational excellence.  He has been recognized for his consulting work in the Automotive industry, receiving five awards from the US Treasury.  Additionally, Xaiver was named Turnaround Consultant of the Year in 2010 by the Global M&A Network and one of the Top 25 Consultants in 2012 by Consulting Magazine.

His work with clients have spanned a broad set of topics in the automotive industry, including new mobility, autonomous vehicles, turnaround and transformation plans, post-merger integration programs across borders in automotive and technology, functional improvement programs, integration of sales force organizations and growth programs.

Xavier holds a general engineering degree from the French Ecole Nationale des Mines, a Master of Physics from Paris University, and an MBA with distinction from INSEAD



Ira Moskowitz
Director of Advanced Manufacturing Programs, MassTech Collaborative

Ira Moskowitz is the Director of Advanced Manufacturing Programs at the MassTech Collaborative, a Massachusetts public agency working to enhance economic growth, accelerate technology use and adoption, and harness the value of research. Ira oversees the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative, an economic development program investing over $100 Million in projects that create new manufacturing technology within the Manufacturing USA infrastructure.

Prior to this position, Ira spent over 30 years managing semiconductor technology development and manufacturing, first at Bell Labs and then at Analog Devices, where he most recently served as Vice President and General Manager of US Operations.

Ira holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester, an MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and an MBA from NYU. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America, the Leadership Council of AIM Photonics, the Board of Directors of Greentown Learn, and multiple university and industry advisory boards.

By Special Invitation


Gina Fiandaca
Commissioner, City of Boston Transportation Department

Gina N. Fiandaca was appointed Commissioner of the City of Boston Transportation Department (BTD) in January of 2015 by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. In this role, Gina oversees a staff of more than 400 who work together to ensure safe, efficient and equitable access on Boston’s street system for all users of the City’s 850 miles of roadway.

Gina is committed to incorporating updated technology into the work of the Boston Transportation Department. In January, 2017, a one year Performance Pricing Parking Pilot Program was implemented at 2,241 parking spaces in Boston’s Back Bay and Seaport District. The program is designed to increase parking turnover to allow more access to on-street spaces, alleviate congestion and pollution caused by vehicles circling the block as drivers search for available parking, and improve safety by decreasing the incidence of distracted driving. Also under Gina’s supervision, in  January, 2017, the first official trip by an autonomous vehicle on a public street in the City was taken in South Boston. Safe progress on this cutting-edge technology continues on City of Boston streets with her guidance.

These initiatives are in keeping with Go Boston 2030, the City of Boston’s long range transportation plan, developed by BTD to guide transportation over the next decade and more. They are indicative of the big and bold steps being taken by BTD under Gina’s management to enhance the transportation experience for Boston’s residents and daily visitors. They are complimented by another significant step, the reduction of Boston’s default speed limit to 25 mph in January of 2017. The new law will help to improve safety for people walking, bicycling and driving on local streets. Reducing the default speed limit is a key accomplishment of Boston’s Vision Zero agenda, aimed at eliminating fatal and serious traffic crashes on City streets by 2030.
Gina received a bachelor’s degree from Suffolk University and an MBA from Boston University. She is a lifelong resident of East Boston where her family has been involved in public service and community affairs for generations. An avid runner, has completed thirty-nine marathons, including nine ultra marathons.

Moderators & Speakers


Jonathan Koopmann
Division Chief of the Technology Innovation and Policy Division, US DOT Volpe Center

Jonathan Koopmann is Division Chief of the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. He leads a multidisciplinary team analyzing policy and institutional issues to plan, develop, and deploy innovative transportation technology including vehicle automation, connected vehicles, data systems and connected cities.



Dr. Carol Atkinson-Palombo
Co-Director of UConn’s Transportation Technology & Society Research Group
Director of Environmental Studies.

With graduate degrees in Geographical Sciences and Economics, Dr. Atkinson-Palombo uses geographical techniques such as GIS-based spatial analysis, statistical modelling, and qualitative methods to assess the impact of policies intended to promote sustainable cities, with specific emphasis on transportation sustainability. An emerging area of interest is how autonomous vehicles may be deployed in various contexts. She serves on the Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles for the State of Connecticut, a body charged with providing guidance on AV legislation.


Troy Jones
Member - System Engineering Directorate, Draper

Troy has 17 years of R&D engineering experience in projects ranging from aerodynamic design of miniature drones to design, integration, and test of multiple self-driving ground vehicles - including two DARPA Urban Challenge SUV's in 2006. Developing the Urban Challenge race vehicles introduced Troy to the technology challenges of autonomous driving – many of which are still unsolved today. Starting in 2015, Troy served as the Technical Director for a Tier 1 automotive supplier program to design and prototype a fleet of self-driving vehicles using only low cost production sensors to perceive the world and operate safely in urban driving scenarios.

Today, as a member of the Draper System Engineering Directorate, Troy focuses on developing new fault-tolerant system architectures and component sensing to lower the cost and increase the reliability of self-driving technologies.

Troy grew up in Virginia and completed his B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering at Virginia Tech before joining Draper in 2004.




John Sgueglia
Director of Systems Engineering and Testing, Optimus Ride Inc.

John Sgueglia is the Director of Systems Engineering and Testing at Optimus Ride Inc. where he develops self-driving vehicle technology for geo-fenced environments. John has been analyzing and integrating self-driving vehicle systems for the past four years and has spent over a decade developing electronic systems for automobiles at Honda R&D.

John studied system engineering and system safety as a fellow in the System Design Management program at MIT where he holds a SM in Engineering Management.




Matt Wansley
General Counsel at nuTonomy

Matt is General Counsel at nuTonomy, an MIT-spinoff self-driving car startup acquired by Delphi (now Aptiv) in 2017. He is an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School and clerked for the Hon. Scott Matheson on the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the Hon. Edgardo Ramos on the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Before joining nuTonomy, Matt was a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.


Velin Dimitrov
Systems Integration Engineer, Toyota Research Institute

Velin Dimitrov is a Systems Integration Engineer on the vehicle hardware team at Toyota Research Institute. TRI works to improve the quality of human life through advances in artificial intelligence, automated driving, robotics, and materials science. Velin holds a Ph.D. from Northeastern University, M.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and B.S. from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. He has been involved in DARPA funded research working with the ATLAS robot for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, NSF sponsored research on developing a semiautonomous wheelchair, and four NASA competitions focusing on space rovers.


Rags Gupta
COO of Humatics

Rags Gupta is COO of Humatics, a startup building microlocation technology to better locate, navigate, and collaborate in the world. Prior to Humatics, Rags worked for a number of startups including Ooyala – a cloud video service subsidiary of Telstra – where he was general manager of the company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa business. He was also part of the founding management team at Brightcove, helping the company achieve 90% CAGR during his tenure and staying with the company through its IPO. Rags holds a BS in Operations Research from Princeton University, where he studied transportation and wrote his thesis on the use of vehicles as probes to provide real-time traffic information.


Robert Schill
Lead Government Relations (Americas), HERE Technologies

Robert Schill leads HERE Technologies’ government relations in the Americas for digital platforms, autonomous systems (driverless cars, trucks and drones) and distributed ledger technology. He supports the development of privacy, open data, cybersecurity and related public policies. Robert previously led the government relations practice at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, where he represented technology, telecommunications and broadcast clients before the Congress and federal agencies.

Prior to that, Robert was Vice President of Law and Public Policy for a technology-focused government affairs firm. In this role, Robert represented clients on a range of technology issues and led the Vehicle Traffic Information Coalition, an advocacy group formed by auto manufacturers and technology suppliers to advance the role of mobility technologies in transportation policy.

Robert received his Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Binghamton University (SUNY).




Peter Calcaterra
Transportation Planner
Connecticut Department of Transportation

Peter Calcaterra is a Transportation Planner at Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), with nine years of experience in state government. Peter is CTDOT’s lead for CAV and a member of Connecticut’s interagency AV working group where he helped draft the framework for Connecticut’s AV law and pilot program. Peter oversees the annual Northeast CAV Summit with UConn, is developing CTDOT’s first CAV plan and participates on regional and national CAV working groups and pooled funds to advance public sector CAV coordination and research.

Peter is a graduate of Fordham University with a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies.




Chris Chaffee
Lead for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Connected/Automated Vehicles

Chris Chaffee is AECOM’s Lead for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Connected/Automated Vehicles in New England. Chris is involved with transportation technology and data projects throughout New England and understands the full project life-cycle from planning through operations and maintenance.

Chris is the President of the New England Intelligent Transportation Society and regularly works with stakeholders including public agencies, academic institutions, field technicians, software developers, and technology vendors.



Virginia "Ginna" Reeder
Program Associate for Innovations in Transportation
I-95 Corridor Coalition

Virginia Reeder has worked in the field of transportation for over 15 years. She is currently the Program Associate for Innovations in Transportation for the I-95 Corridor Coalition, where she leads the connected and autonomous vehicle effort for the organization. In this role, she supports the Coalition’s member agencies from Maine to Florida in their efforts to prepare for and embrace new vehicle technology as individual states and a coordinated region.

Prior to joining the Coalition staff, she was the Director of Performance Management Coordination in MassDOT’s Office of Performance Management and Innovation. In this role she worked collaboratively with departments and divisions throughout the agency to support and advance data collection, performance management reporting and monitoring, congestion
initiatives, customer experience, and other projects related to new. She has also worked as a consultant in support of state, regional and federal transportation agencies.

She holds a Masters of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University in New Brunswick New Jersey.


Daniel Sullivan
Policy Analyst in the Office of the Secretary

Daniel holds a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern University. He previously managed K-12 science and engineering events and research at Northeastern’s Center for STEM Education. In 2014 he led a global youth survey submitted to the UN, USAID, and the Department of State, connecting with over 150 youth-led sustainable development organizations and reporting information on critical barriers through the Millennium Campus Network.

With a passion for civic engagement and sustainable transportation, Daniel currently serves as a Policy Analyst in the Office of the Secretary at MassDOT on a range of emerging technology and policy challenges, including management of the Commonwealth’s autonomous vehicles testing program, partnerships with transportation network companies, and more. 




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