Momentum: Issue #32

November 12, 2019


With the conclusion of the 26th ITS World Congress (ITSWC) in Singapore, ITS America has fully shifted into ‘LA2020 mode’! As the larger ITS community looks toward next year’s event, ITS America last week announced a new program designed to create opportunities for tomorrow’s intelligent mobility leaders by targeting a diverse group of students in the United States and abroad.

The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), which is aimed at university and high school students in the United States and across the world, will culminate at next year’s ITSWC in Los Angeles: The New Age of Mobility. The program hopes to identify potential leaders who will become part of tomorrow’s workforce.

“As an industry, we need to work harder to engage and develop young professionals who will extend our progress and become the next generation of leaders,” said Beth Kigel, Vice President, HNTB Corp and Chair, Emerging Leaders Program.

The ELP has three components: a Global Challenge for college students with a finals event in Los Angeles at the ITS World Congress; a National Immersion Program for high school students across the country; and a Local Awareness Program, which will provide opportunities for high school students in the Los Angeles metropolitan area to visit the exhibit floor.

The Global Challenge is a new program specifically developed for the 2020 ITSWC. Organizers will recruit teams of university students from across the world to solve a mobility puzzle, potentially related to the upcoming 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Three teams from differing geographic regions from around the world will be selected in advance and will travel to the ITSWC in Los Angeles for the final competition.

The National Immersion Program will also feature a pre-event competition related to intelligent mobility, this time for high school students throughout the United States. Up to three teams will be selected to showcase their solution at the ITSWC, which will also feature programming specifically developed for these teams.

The Local Awareness Program will offer high school students and their teachers from the Los Angeles Metropolitan area an opportunity to experience hundreds of mobility solutions that will be part of the ITSWC exhibit floor.

The college and high school pre-event competitions will take place during this school year; the on-site activities will be scheduling throughout the ITS World Congress in Los Angeles October 4 – 8, 2020.

For more information on the Emerging Leaders Program, please contact Beth Kigel at


Name: Steve Dellenback
Title: Vice President R&D
Company: Southwest Research Institute

Short Job description/Role Responsibility: I lead over 200 staff performing R&D efforts in ITS, automated vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, cooperative systems, space flight software, cybersecurity, machine learning, software consortia and large-scale robotics. Our R&D team is a combination of many different engineering disciplines including Computer Scientists, Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers and Computer Engineers. Our client funded R&D efforts span the globe and are performed for a variety of commercial and government clients; our projects span the technology readiness level scale with a vast majority of them in the applied engineering category.

Current or previous  #ITS Project: Member of a National Academy of Science committee that developed a report on using Force Multiplying Technologies for Logistics Support to Military Operations that included how automated vehicles could be exploited to improve Army logistics.

Accomplishments: A few of the recent accomplishments: our team has state-owned traffic management software deployed over 50 times in 12 states. We have developed over 20 automated vehicle platforms including on-road, agriculture focused and off-road military vehicles. Our team developed critical software for the SwRI led New Horizons mission that explored Pluto and the Kuiper belt – the furthest point explored by humans. A number of our staff are nationally and international recognized experts in a number of technology fields beyond transportation systems.

What’s the future of #ITS look like to you? Our traditional traffic management systems will continue to become more robust as advanced modelling technologies and data science is applied to make them more accurate and capable of providing robust recommendations to travelers. In the near term we will see more deployment of automated vehicle in constrained environments as well as move connected vehicle systems deployed in an effort to improve safety and save lives.

Family: wife Cindy of 39 years, 4 daughters: Lauren (33), Ashley (30), Katie (27) and Shannon (27), 2 son-in-laws and a granddaughter (5).

Favorite place to travel: Europe

Most Unusual Job you have ever had before current position: I used to drive 18-wheeler acid trucks in the west Texas oil patch; the oil was used in high pressure fracture jobs performed on oil wells

If you could Switch jobs in your company, who would you switch with and why?: Top technical position called an Institute Scientist – all about R&D with no administrative management responsibilities

First car you drove?: I am from Texas – a truck 😊

Karaoke Song: none – no one wants to hear me sing

Hidden Talent: fixing appliances

If you weren’t working in Transportation industry you would: Academia – teaching Computer Science/Engineering

Any other fun fact you would like to share? 9 knee surgeries to date!