New Faculty Member, 2022–23
Assistant professor, engineering programs
Junfeng Zhao is driven to advance vehicle and transportation technology to help society. He is beginning a new phase of his career this fall at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University as an assistant professor of engineering programs in The Polytechnic School, one of the seven schools in the Fulton Schools.
“Arizona is becoming a new hub for autonomous driving and electric vehicle technology,” he says. “I see great opportunities here for my research and career.”
At ASU, he will be setting up a new research lab on the ASU Polytechnic campus called the Battery Electric and Intelligent Vehicle, or BELIV, Lab.
“I believe our multidisciplinary research program will contribute to the development of safe, clean and energy-efficient intelligent vehicles and transportation systems, which will have long-term benefits to society and shape the future of mobility,” Zhao says.
Zhao will also teach courses at ASU related to electrified propulsion systems as well as connected and automated vehicles. Connected vehicles use communications technology to sense what is happening around them and relay information to other vehicles. He says his students will gain a system-level understanding and multidisciplinary knowledge from his lectures and hands-on lab activities.
Zhao previously worked as a senior researcher at General Motors Global Research and Development, where he served as the technical lead of a $4.5 million project funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy under the U.S. Department of Energy. For more than six years, he collaborated with top researchers in the field to develop new technologies for connected and automated vehicles.
His research on vehicle powertrains using renewable fuels earned him the Presidential Fellowship, the highest honor for doctoral students at The Ohio State University.
Zhao loves traveling and hiking, noting that “there is a desire within me to explore different places and different cultures.” He is also passionate about cars in general and looks forward to testing the automation capabilities of his new Chevy Bolt Electric Utility Vehicle with Super Cruise.
As he reflects on the ways vehicle and transportation technologies have changed people’s lives over the past century, Zhao is excited about what comes next.
“Even bigger changes are on the horizon,” he says. “I am eager to see how future mobility could change the world.”
Written by Monique Clement