JEFF GREENBERG: APPLYING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING TO THE HUMAN-MACHINE INTERFACE
Jeff Greenberg, senior technical leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering
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- Jeff Greenberg, a 25-year Ford veteran, is the senior technical leader for Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, helping develop the next generation of vehicle interfaces
- Greenberg was a key architect of the SmartGauge™ vehicle interface featured on the award-winning 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid
- An avid reader and aspiring golfer, Greenberg has cultivated a lifelong love of learning that dovetails into a passion for the research his job entails
During development of MyFord Touch driver connect technology and its predecessor, SmartGauge with EcoGuide, Ford Motor Company gathered experts from a variety of fields. With dual master’s degrees in physics and engineering management – and more than 20 years of driver research experience at Ford – Jeff Greenberg was exactly the kind of mind the company wanted onboard.
“I was always fascinated by the ability of development engineers to quickly identify particular driving modes that would cause customers problems,” said Greenberg. “Using computer modeling, I knew I could help solve those problems, but I also realized that computer models weren’t nearly as good as real drivers at finding the problems in the first place. Trying to understand the significance of that disconnect – the ‘human element’ of driving – has dominated my career at Ford for the last 20 years.”
Greenberg’s early research projects led to the construction of a series of driving simulator labs that were capable of putting testers right in the middle of a computer simulation. The program’s benefits were quickly apparent, and culminated in the opening of Ford’s Virtual Test Track Experiment (VIRTTEX) facility, built to study active safety systems, in 2001.
“The VIRTTEX lab turned out to be just the thing for helping to develop forward collision warnings, drowsy driver detection systems and other active safety technology,” said Greenberg. “The work also led directly to questions about driver distraction.
“Studies in VIRTTEX and earlier Ford simulators showed us that voice-command systems had an enormous role to play in reducing distraction and helping to keep drivers safe,” added Greenberg. “Ford’s SYNC® technology uses this principle to offer our customers a safer way to interact with the electronic devices they bring into our vehicles.”
Greenberg’s work studying human perception through the VIRTTEX lab led directly to his next assignment: human-machine interfaces. Greenberg’s team was tasked with developing the unique instrument cluster, known as SmartGauge, for the 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids.
“SmartGauge pulls together much of what I’ve learned about the way people think and process information into an innovative, fun product,” said Greenberg. “Seeing the media and customer reaction to the technology and watching it evolve into MyFord Touch – the future of Ford driver interfaces – has been a very rewarding experience.”
A lifelong love of learning
As time permits, Greenberg enjoys travel. He and his wife Lucie are also golf enthusiasts, though Greenberg readily admits his strengths are more apparent in the research lab than on the fairway.
Greenberg is also an avid reader, not surprising considering the love of learning that’s been persistent all through his personal and professional life.
“Curiosity is still a big driver for me even after more than 25 years at Ford,” said Greenberg. “I’ve found that being curious about something as fundamental to our business as the relationship between car and driver has meant that my research interests often have contributed to our products in a very concrete way.”
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Jeff Greenberg has been married to his wife Lucie for 21 years
- The Greenbergs have numerous pets, including a standard poodle named Luke and two cats
- Greenberg helped develop control software for the 1989 Ford Thunderbird SC, that year’s MOTOR TRENDCar of the Year
- Greenberg has a B.S. in physics from Case Western Reserve University, a master’s in physics from the University of Michigan and a master’s in engineering management from Wayne State University
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 200,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com .
Jan. 7, 2010