‘Unsung heroes’: The team behind the intelligent car technology you take for granted

In case you missed it, Microsoft Next this week featured a series of profiles on the people at Microsoft who are engineering the car of the future, the Windows Embedded Automotive team. Each profile is accompanied by videos that highlight a few of the personalities on the team, as well as their collective expertise and vision for the intelligent car.

Meet Windows Embedded Automotive – One of the most prolific groups of “unsung heroes” at Microsoft is the Windows Embedded Business Group, which creates powerful software for devices that you use every day – without ever knowing they’re running Windows Embedded. Your car’s stereo, climate control and navigation system are just a few examples.

Engineering the car of the future – Meet Pranish Kumar, who leads the Windows Embedded Automotive team. He talks about the uphill battle of gaining the trust of carmakers, and how he and his team are developing reliable in-car experiences, not by sitting at a desk but by working behind the wheel of a fleet of vehicles. Also featured is Jay Loney (pictured above), who in his spare time can be found under the hood of a 1934 Ford or playing an upright bass with his rockabilly band, Blacktop Deceiver. During working hours, Loney leads the creation of an automobile’s user interface that’s updateable, so you the driver can interact with your car more naturally.

Designing the future driving experienceJohn Hendricks heads up the user experience design efforts of Windows Embedded Automotive. He’s held a variety of positions in his life, including stints at Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Disney and Paramount, giving him a good sense for the balance between what’s possible and what’s feasible. Melissa Quintanilha of Rio de Janeiro on his team enjoys the challenge of designing technology for a car, which provides a constrained experience in terms of physical and attention span limitation on the part of a driver.

Keeping cars safe with glanceable designDavid Walker is all about making cars that are more connected – but also safer. As a captain then accident investigator for Air Canada, his eyes were opened to the need for dashboard controls that can be understood with a fleeting glance, what’s known as “glanceable design.” He works with David Kelley, who oversees the software development of Windows Embedded Automotive. In his spare time Kelley teaches defensive driving and accident avoidance techniques to local car clubs.

Jennifer Chen
Microsoft News Center Staff