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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Karl Iagnemma

Karl Iagnemma is an American-based entrepreneur. He was born on October 19, 1972. Iagnemma has worked in various industries and currently holds the CEO position at Motional Company. He is recognized as an influential figure in different industries and his work has also been appreciated through different awards. Below is a list of 10 things you like didn't know about Karl Iagnemma:

10. He is a Front-Runner in the Self-Driving Car Industry

After conducting research and developing technology in the robotics industry, pioneers Karl Iagnemma from MIT along with his colleague Chris Urmson went ahead to launch nuTonomy, a startup that focused on self-driving cars and autonomous mobile robots in 2013. The company became known for building the world’s safest and smartest driverless vehicle software was later named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in 2018. The company later launched its autonomous taxi service in Singapore attracting investors and eventually being acquired by APTIV in 2017 for 450 million dollars.

9. Award-winning Author

Besides being a renowned research scientist and entrepreneur, Karl Iagnemma is also an author. He published his first book, 'On The Nature of Human Interaction’ in 2003, a book which was later crowned the winner of the Paris Review Discovery for best fiction and was anthologized in ‘The Best American Short Stories 2002.' Some of the other books that he has published include “Mobile Robots in Rough Terrain” in 2004 and “The Expedition” in 2007. The latter was also a winner of the Paris Review Plimpton Prize.

8. He is a Board Member and Advisory Role in Two Organizations

Karl Iagnemma holds both a board member and advisors’ role at Michigan mobility Institute, an institution that trains people and professionals in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity energy efficiency and independence. He is also a senior advisor at Derq Company that provides insights on road safety for all road users. Derq is also focused on making cities safer and promoting the deployment of autonomous vehicles at a scale.

7. He is a Husband and a Father

Karl Iagnemma’s wife, Ann-Kristin Lund was a diplomat in the Swedish Foreign Ministry and is currently the chair of the board of directors at the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce. The two have a daughter named Sophia Liv, who was born when Iagnemma was finishing up his first novel. In an interview, he stated that although it was tough balancing his personal life and his professional life, he tries to do most of his writing when his daughter, who was ten months at the time of the interview, sleeps. His commitment to balancing his personal and professional work shows his mastery of the art of self-discipline.

6. President of Motional

He is the founder and CEO of his company Motional, which specializes in making safe driverless cars. According to his LinkedIn profile, the company was formed after a partnership between his former company Aptiv and Hyundai Motor Group. Aptiv was focused on developing automotive technologies that are safer, environment friendly, and offer better solutions to existing issues in the automotive industry. The company aimed at improving the future mobility. After partnering with Hyundai Motor Group, Motional turned its focus on the development of driver-less cars.

5. Former Director of the Robotic Mobility Group in MIT

Karl Iagnemma was the principal research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was also the director of the Robotic Mobility Group. His research and studies in mobile robotics have resulted in more than 150 technical publications and 50 issued or filed patents.

4. Holds a PhD in Robotics

He was first in his class and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. He, later on, went to MIT where he earned his masters and PhD in Robotics. Iagnemma stayed at MIT to work on different research studies relating to robotics. His interest in robotics is what led him to start working with cars and launching his first startup company nuTonomy. He also believes that the automotive industry can be continuously reinvested with the proper application of robotic technology. According to him, the automotive industry is the most exciting technology space.

3. Grew up Around Cars

Karl Iagnemma grew up around cars. His father worked for a small supplier in the automotive industry. Iagnemma grew up in Michigan, in the Detroit area and was always surrounded by cars. The “big three” General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford Motor started in Detroit, which could explain Iagnemma’s obsession with cars and his early childhood experience with the different car companies that were based in Detroit.

2. Motional partnership with Lyft

His company Motional has partnered with Lyft, a giant company that offers cars for hire, provides public transportation and food delivery services. This move enabled them to launch their public robotaxi fleet services in Las Vegas with 98% of customers giving them a 5-star rating for their rides. Motional has also come to be known as one of the first companies in the world to put driverless vehicle on the road and has announced plans to launch full-driverless services in 2023.

1. He Believes Robotics Can Solve Numerous World Problems

Iagnemma believes that robotics can be used to solve numerous world problems like world hunger, through increased utilization of robotics in the agricultural sector. His interest in using robotics in the automotive industry is based on his belief that people could spend the time they drive doing other profitable things. As such, he believes that there is a lot of room for robots in everyday life.


Karl Iagnemma is an extraordinarily talented man. His contributions in the automotive and robotics industries are likely to lead to the release of driverless cars in the automotive market soon. Iagnemma’s enthusiasm with cars stemmed from his childhood experiences and love for cars combined with his education in robotics. His focus on the disruptive technology of driverless cars could transform the future.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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