A Woman Who Leads the Future of Transportation

Image The Most Influential Turkish-American Women #4 - "My daughter is 12 years old and probably she will not need a driver's license by the time she needs to have it," says Seval Öz, CEO of Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, LLC. So what will be happening in 4-5 years and why we will not need a driver's license? Öz and her team have worked for this dream to come true. Seval Öz was formerly head of business development for the Google [X] self driving car program, and last year she transferred to Continental AG, one of the world's largest automotive systems company. The company opened a branch in Silicon Valley and Öz has been leading a new Silicon Valley-based operation aimed at intelligent transportation efforts to create the car of the future since August 2014.
Even back in 1958, the car of the future was a dream. Ford ran an advertisement with a photo of a couple playing scrabble while their car drove itself. The project was unsuccessful because there was not enough government support nor the infrastructure needed for the cable system on which the car would drive itself.

Men from Earth walked on the moon and returned safely home in 1969. Why are people still driving essentially the same car system and design as those manufactured in 1908? Öz answers with confidence: "If the computer had been invented before the car, the computer would have long ago been driving our cars by now. We can think of it the same as an autopilot system for planes. After that invention, crashes due to human pilot errors were dramatically reduced. Without a computer system, it was impossible to invent the auto-pilot."  
She describes herself as a troublemaker on her team. "I am impatient and always challenge people to ask why we can not introduce the technology in the marketplace. Whatever she does, she always thinks outside the box—she prefers circles and straight lines

Probably Americans will have self-driving cars, but how safe are the current software models and how many miles does a car need to be driven to satisfy safety requirements is still part of ongoing public discussion. " We always think about how we can change our system not depending upon infrastructure or other technologies to come.” says Öz. The current roads also have not used been used efficiently. During peak thru-put on US highways, we only use approximately 8 percent of the road. The future's cars will have vehicle-to-vehicle communication; vehicle to infrastructure communication will be possible and the vehicle will be the central hub for the Internet of Everything. With this consistent data flow in, around and beyond the car we are transforming the connected vehicles into clever vehicles.

"One big motivation for self-driving, connected cars is to help people who can’t drive for themselves, or who can no longer drive safely,” Öz said.

Every year, more than 30,000 Americans are killed in cars, and traffic crashes cost society at least $300 billion a year, according to a study by the AAA. Most accidents are caused by human error that could, in theory, be mitigated or avoided by predictive algorithms and intelligent computer systems in the car.

Seval Öz, the sister of world-renowned cardiologist and TV host Mehmet Öz.  She visits Turkey every summer when the extended family gets together for a blue voyage in Southern Turkey. ''I'd love spend more time in Turkey but there is never enough time for it," she says.

She is on the Advisory Board of HealthCorps®, a national health education program for high schools founded by her family and Endeavor.Org, a global high-impact entrepreneurship organization based in NYC.  She is also a steering member of the New York City Public Library.

Seval accepted the PWI Women in Technology Award for Courage in San Francisco in 2014. Seval Öz received her MBA from Wharton Business School, graduating with Distinction, and her BA, cum laude, from Wellesley/M.I.T
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07