Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering John J. Leonard has been appointed the new director of the Ford-MIT Alliance, Chancellor Phillip Clay announced on Tuesday. Leonard will succeed Professor John Heywood, who retired in June.
Leonard, a member of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, joined the MIT faculty in 1996 after five years as a postdoc and research scientist in the MIT Sea Grant Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Laboratory. He has participated in numerous field deployments of AUVs, including under-ice operations in the Arctic and several major experiments in the Mediterranean, and has led several major technology development efforts in AUV navigation and mapping for the Office of Naval Research.
“John is an outstanding scholar and teacher with significant experience in the kind of research that supports our relationship with Ford Motor Company,” Clay said. “I look forward to John’s energetic leadership. I also look forward to the continuing interest and involvement in the alliance of faculty across the Institute.”
MIT’s current alliance with Ford goes back 12 years. It relates to all aspects of Ford's research to support product development and processes.