Renowned automotive engineer joins UTA faculty – News Center

Thursday, Apr 11, 2024
• Brian Lopez :

Hongtei Eric Tseng headshot

The University of Texas at Arlington has made its first hire under the Recruiting Innovative Scholars for Excellence initiative, or RISE 100, bringing to campus a renowned expert in vehicle autonomy who also is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Hongtei Eric Tseng will join the University as a distinguished university professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Tseng brings decades of experience in the automotive industry, largely with the Ford Motor Company. He has helped develop vehicle technology that has improved self-driving capabilities and reduced the chances of rollover accidents. 

“In this dynamic era of AI advancement, I am thrilled to join the esteemed community at UTA, a research university with national prominence,” Tseng said. “This community offers strong support for integrating control technology and machine learning, aligning with my goals of technology transition and contributing to students’ educational journeys.”

His election to the NAE came in recognition of his contributions to control systems that enhance vehicle safety. Membership in NAE—which honors professionals who have made outstanding and innovative contributions to the research, practice, education or advancement of engineering—is among the highest professional distinctions awarded in the profession. With Tseng, UTA has six members of the National Academies of Engineering, Medicine and Science. 

UTA recruited Tseng with key support from the Governor’s University Research Initiative, a program launched by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that helps the state’s public universities attract distinguished researchers who can help bolster both the standing of the state’s higher education institutions and its economic development efforts.

“With support from the Governor’s University Research Initiative, our University aims to attract scholars who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge and can advance our robust culture of discovery,” said Tamara L. Brown, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Dr. Tseng’s experiences in industry and as an inventor align well with our desire to enhance our research commercialization and innovation.”

His hire is the University’s first under its RISE 100 initiative, which represents a substantial investment in the future of UTA: a $60 million effort, funded in part through the support of the University of Texas System’s Regents Research Excellence program. Through this initiative, the University seeks to hire more than 100 new tenure-system faculty over the next three years. Hiring at this scale often takes up to 15 years; UTA seeks to achieve its faculty hiring goals by 2026.

UTA’s aim is to hire scholars with expertise in areas that will make an impact in Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, supporting the growth and development of the region’s economy, society and culture. 

“RISE 100 represents a generational opportunity for our University to bring to our region innovative minds who boldly take on the biggest challenges of our time,” said UTA President Jennifer Cowley. “Dr. Tseng is at the forefront of our initiative to recruit accomplished and ambitious scholars who bolster our faculty excellence, mentor the next generation of talented students and enhance our national reputation as a leading research university.”

Tseng brings a wealth of knowledge about vehicle autonomy and will boost UTA’s existing faculty research and expertise. He was presented with the 2013 Control Practice Award by the American Automatic Control Council (AACC) for his original applications of advanced and classical estimation and control theory in the automotive industry. He is the author/coauthor of over 160 publications, including six book chapters, and has over 100 U.S. patents under his belt, with about a third implemented in Ford vehicles. 

“Dr. Tseng knows exactly what it means to transfer technology commercially,” said Peter Crouch, the College of Engineering dean. “This will allow the University to ramp up its relationships with local industry.”

He received his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from National Taiwan University and his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Some of Tseng’s achievements include:

  • Lateral control enhancement for lane centering on Ford Lightning and F150 with BlueCruise: Tseng’s work on intelligent adaptive lateral control is key to the Ford BlueCruise Level 2 hands-free driving, available in Select 2023 Ford vehicles, including F-150s, F-150 Lightnings and Expeditions. His solution allows collaborative driving – a feature noticed and lauded by Consumer Reports.
  • Trailer angle estimation for Pro Trailer Backup AssistTM on Ford Super Duty: Backing up a trailer involves navigating two connected vehicles at the same time. It is not an easy task, as the two vehicles go in different directions: The truck is going one way, and the trailer is going the opposite. Tseng’s development of the trailer backup assist solution introduced a yaw rate-based system applicable to all trailer types, including 5th wheel and gooseneck trailers. It has been deployed in Ford F-150 and Super Duty’s Pro Trailer Backup systems (2020).
  • Vehicle state estimation and fault detection for Ford and Volvo roll stability control system: Electronic Stability Control (ESC) enhances vehicle stability by continuously monitoring the vehicle’s direction and steering inputs, making it one of the most significant advancements in vehicle safety since the invention of the seat belt. This is achieved through estimating vehicle states with an inertia measurement unit and controlling them with brake actuation on individual wheels. Tseng’s earlier work in vehicle state estimation and fault detection were instrumental in the rollout of Ford AdvanceTrac for Lincoln LS and Jaguar S type (2000), as well as the introduction of Ford Roll Stability Control, an industry-first technology, on the Volvo XC90 (2003). 



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