A Techwise Conversation with Larry Burns and Susan Hassler, a Podcast for IEEE Spectrum
The former head of R&D for General Motors, Larry Burns, talks about the convergence of lightweight electric vehicles and self-driving cars in new systems of personal transportation.
Susan Hassler: Hello, I’m Susan Hassler for IEEE Spectrum’s “Techwise Conversations.”
We’re talking today with Larry Burns, professor of engineering practice at the University of Michigan. Larry was for many years at General Motors serving as vice president of research and development and strategic planning. In this role, he oversaw GM’s advanced technology innovation programs and corporate strategy. He also served on GM’s top decision-making bodies for operations and products. In addition to driving innovation into today’s vehicles, Burns led GM’s development of a new automotive DNA that marries electrically driven and connected vehicle technologies. The goal was to realize sustainable personal mobility with smart cars that are aspirational and affordable. So could you first tell us a little bit about your history with EVs, and yourself, your own involvement with electric vehicles?
Larry Burns: I’d be happy to do that, Susan. I was employed by General Motors really from when I entered college back in the early ’70s until I left General Motors in 2009. From 1998 to 2009, I was the corporate vice president of research and development for GM and also had the position of head of planning and strategic planning for the company. So I was very involved with product planning from the mid-’90s until I left, as well as the more strategic direction of GM.
Read more ›