Alumnus Bryan Reimer Wins Innovation Award

Bryan Reimer
Bryan Reimer

By Neil Nachbar

University of Rhode Island graduate Bryan Reimer was recently announced as a winner of an Autos2050 Innovation Award. The award recognizes innovators and pioneers who are helping make future mobility a reality.

The inaugural awards will be presented at the Autos2015 conference dinner on Jan. 24 in Washington, DC. The event and awards are sponsored by the Auto Alliance, a trade association representing 12 automakers, and The Alliance for Transportation Innovation (ATI21), a consortium of transportation technology innovators, subject matter experts and researchers.

“I am honored to be among a list of CEO’s, governors and members of Congress receiving this award,” said Reimer. “The award is a testament to the collaborative efforts of many who have supported my career over the past two decades.”

Reimer graduated from URI with a B.S. in industrial engineering in 1997, an M.S. in manufacturing engineering in 1999 and a Ph.D. in industrial and manufacturing engineering in 2003. He is currently a research scientist in the MIT AgeLab and the associate director of The New England University Transportation Center at MIT.

“Bryan has made significant contributions to driver safety by conducting rigorous scientific tests investigating various distractions and vehicle based solutions on driving performance,” said Professor Manbir Sodhi, who was Reimer’s faculty advisor at URI. “He developed an interest in this work during his Ph.D. studies, and has continued and expanded upon it with great success at MIT.”

Reimer’s doctoral work, entitled “Automated Methods of Detecting Driver Distractions,” showed that the size of a driver’s scan path is reduced during periods of cognitive demand.

“One of my fondest memories of URI was developing ways to collect data on drivers’ eye movements,” recalled Reimer. “Back then, we collected a few 100 miles of data over a few years. Now we are collecting over 500 miles a day and have logged nearly a million miles of data in various studies that investigate how drivers manage their attention in an increasing automated driving context. What once seemed to be a daunting effort as a graduate student laid the foundation for dozens of scientific contributions that have followed.”

The Brookline, Mass. resident has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers in transportation and related human factors areas. In his more recent publications, Reimer showed that physiological measures, such as heart rate and skin conductance, are sensitive to changes in driver demand prior to the deterioration of driving performance.

Reimer frequently gives presentations to industry and academic audiences. He has been a featured speaker at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Texas A&M and The Technische Universität München. He gave a keynote address at the 2012 New England Motor Press Association Autonomous Vehicle Conference and the 3rd International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicle Applications.