Autonomous Vehicles– When will I get into my own autonomous car?

Session 2

Where do autonomous vehicles stand today and when will they be ready? How will they operate in connected cities and will all consumers be ready to use them?  What is the impact on mobility for our community and specifically for consumers with various disabilities? 


Listen to this panel of experts working on autonomy share their perspectives on the current and future state of self-driving technology, and hear the impact for the future of transportation and independence of travel.


Dragos Maciuca

Executive Technical Director


Dragos Maciuca is the Executive Technical Director at Ford's Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California.  He is an experienced engineer and management professional, with more than 20 years of professional experience in Silicon Valley spanning a breadth of industries including automotive (BMW and Nissan), consumer electronics (Apple), semiconductor manufacturing (KLA-Tencor) and aerospace (Lockheed Martin).  


Dragos has extensive experience advising startups, developing and commercializing products, collaborating with universities and leading cross-functional teams. He holds a PhD in Control Systems from University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from the  UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business.


James Gowers

Vice President

Strategy & Business Development

Perceptive Automata


James Gowers leads strategy and business development at Perceptive Automata, a team developing human intuition AI for autonomous vehicles so they can drive safely and smoothly around people. Prior to Perceptive Automata, James helped launch and grow DeepMap, the leading HD mapping and localization service provider for autonomous vehicles.

James is deeply interested in the multi-faceted aspects of autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, including their profound economic, environmental, and societal impacts, globally. He shares his observations on social media, during invited talks, and as a panelist at industry events.

James has 20 years of experience launching, growing, and commercializing innovative high-tech growth companies in fields such as automotive, mobile, energy, electronics, and nanotechnology. James holds a MBA from Harvard Business School, earned his BSc in England, and was born and raised in Germany. He spends too much of his spare time watching, playing, and officiating the beautiful game of soccer.​

Ezra Hayman

Head of Autonomous

Vehicle Marketing


Ezra Hayman is working with Lyft's corporate strategy, brand, and engineering teams to enable the next chapter of transportation. 


Prior to Lyft, Ezra led product marketing and communications at Practice Fusion (acquired by Allscripts in 2017); worked as a Communication Studies instructor at San Francisco State University; worked in HIV health education at Planned Parenthood, and managed multiple successful small businesses in San Francisco and Northern California.


Ezra holds an MA in Communication Studies from San Francisco State University.

S Joy Mountford

User Interface Design Leader


S. Joy Mountford is an internationally recognized leader in the field of computer-human interactions. From 1986 to 1994 she was Head of the Human Interface Group at Apple Computer, where she developed interfaces known as QuickTime, Navigable movies and Bubble Help. In 2012, Joy won a Lifetime Practice Award from ACM’s, SIGCHI and this year, she won women’s leadership from Mission College. 


Joy has led interdisciplinary teams all designing and developing a wide variety of products including airplanes, media, artificial intelligence, and toys. Previously, Joy was Vice President of User Experience Design and Design Innovation at Yahoo! and an Osher Fellow at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.


Currently, Joy is helping to  design autonomous vehicles and Digital Assistants for Ford Motor Co. at Greenfield Labs, Palo Alto. One of her biggest impacts continues through the International Design Expo, sponsored by companies such as, Apple, Microsoft, Intel and others, which she created over 25 years ago to challenge the next generation of interdisciplinary design graduates. She continues to present innovative and thought provoking talks worldwide.