Luke Neurauter, a Virginia Tech alumnus and researcher at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), has been named director of the Division of Vehicle, Driver, and System Safety, effective Dec. 25, 2021.

“Luke has conveyed a comprehensive understanding of, and aptitude for, leading a research division at VTTI,” said Zac Doerzaph, VTTI executive director. “He has demonstrated the capacity to expand the division’s research portfolio with a vision aimed at creating a persistent positive influence on transportation. Over our many years of working together, Luke consistently impresses me with his ability to see opportunity and to deliver on his promises.”

Neurauter will lead a team of researchers that support the development and evaluation of advanced technologies and operations for automotive suppliers, policy makers, and infrastructure owner operators, improving safety and system effectiveness. The division’s key research areas focus on advanced product testing and evaluation, advanced vehicle systems and interfaces, dynamics, electronics, perception systems, injury biomechanics, training systems, and vulnerable road users.

“I am excited to lead this critical research division moving forward and to ensure that our accomplishments continue to reinforce VTTI as the go-to transportation-related research partner for current and prospective sponsors,” said Neurauter.  “Leveraging individual and collective expertise, talents, and strengths across a broad coverage of topic areas, the Division of Vehicle, Driver, and System Safety will continue to directly influence transportation safety through focused evaluations, targeted research areas, and dissemination of findings, where applicable.

Previously, Neurauter led VTTI’s Advanced Vehicle Systems and Interfaces group within the division.

As a Virginia Tech undergraduate student, Neurauter began working at the institute in October 2000 supporting a night-time research study. Since then, he has worked as a graduate research assistant, senior research specialist, research associate, senior research associate, and in 2013 took over the Connected and Advanced Vehicle Systems group (now Advanced Vehicle Systems and Interface group) as group leader.

While leading the Advanced Vehicle Systems and Interfaces group, Neurauter guided a team primarily focused on evaluating advanced vehicle systems for major automotive companies and suppliers, most of which was proprietary. Specifically, the team evaluates advanced prototypes to measure safety benefits and to better understand how drivers interact with these systems during controlled settings and/or routine driving. Results from these projects directly influence the final research and development phases applied by sponsors prior to introducing advanced features into full production.

“I’ve always been a car guy and the idea that our work has a direct impact on new and advanced vehicle technologies is a great feeling,” said Neurauter. “We know that the work we are doing at VTTI is directly influencing modern vehicles by helping drivers to avoid conflicts and generally making our roads safer for all users.”

Neurauter graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s in industrial systems engineering in 2002 and a master’s in industrial systems engineering with a focus in human factors in 2004.

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