Takeo Kanade, the U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor of Robotics and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, received the prestigious 2016 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology, Nov. 10 in a ceremony in Kyoto, Japan.
The international award is presented by the Inamori Foundation to individuals such as Kanade who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of humankind. Kanade’s prize recognizes his pioneering contributions to computer vision and robotics. The prize includes a gold medal and a cash award of 50 million yen (about $480,000).
Kanade joined the Robotics Institute and the Computer Science Department in 1980 and was director of the Robotics Institute from 1992-2001. He made fundamental discoveries in face detection technology, automated driving, three-dimensional image reconstruction, self-flying helicopters and the use of video images to estimate the direction and speed of moving objects.
In the early 1980s at CMU, he founded and led NavLab, a pioneering project that developed techniques for a vision-based autonomous car, including lane keeping, automatic parallel parking and object detection. He also co-developed the world’s first direct-drive robot arm, which is used by several robot manufacturers and is recognized as one of the most advanced robot arm technologies.
Applications of his algorithmic insights, mathematical and physical principles, and rigorous implementation include medical robots for surgical assistance, “virtualized reality” systems for capturing and visualizing three-dimensional scenes and modern graphics effects in video.