Shane Elwart is the founder of NIFT with the goal to democratize autonomous, sustainable, accessible, and affordable
vehicles. He designed, and demonstrated a purpose built autonomous/electric/accessible vehicle with his family in just over
100 days prior to forming NIFT LCC. He is currently developing the business and working to build a US based company to
provide driverless transportation for the masses from his hometown in Belleville, Michigan.
Before forming NIFT, he was the Deputy Chief Engineer for Autonomous Driving Systems at American HAVAL Motor
Technology in Farmington Hills, Michigan. At HAVAL he led a global team in the US, India, and China in the development of
an SAE Level 4 Autonomous Driving System, with a goal to develop and productionize a “driverless” vehicle. He is a creative
leader, mentor and manages teams that include groups engineers in various areas of expertise (including
mapping/localization, sensor development, testing/verification/CAE, Functional Safety, Human Factors/User Experience/HMI,
software development, process development, systems engineering, etc.). In addition to his duties as Deputy Chief for a time
he was also acting manager of Mapping and Localization, Behavior and Motion Planning and Functional Safety. He also
developed and implemented a global lite agile process while preparing the team to transition to a global agile framework,
crossing many disciplines and regions. He ably sets visionary directions such as innovating ways to interface with customers,
while helping individuals find ways to get through the most detailed technical issues. He enjoys working with people and
challenging the status quo.
His previous positions held at Ford Motor Company including various control systems development assignments in research
through production activities, such as the production development and integration of Automatic Start Stop, the research
development through production of Trailer Backup Assist Anti-Jackknife controller, the by-wiring of Ford’s Autonomous
Vehicle Platform and more have prepared him to be a leader in the field of Autonomous Vehicle Development.
Prior to this position at American HAVAL, he was the leader and technical expert in control systems integration for the
development of an SAE Level 2 Autonomous Driving System at Ford Motor Company leading a global team in Michigan, Palo
Alto California, and Germany. He is the creator of a technology so named “Drive History” which is the most compact mapping
and machine learning technology used in support of an SAE Level 2 Autonomous Driving feature, used for real-time mapping,
localization, and online attribute learning (expanded to enable sub-lane level localization using production sensors for using
on 4 lane highway in California). He has been involved in every aspect of the design, development, organization, planning,
marketing, etc. of this highly autonomous vehicle project. He is not just the lead and creative visionary involved in every
aspect of the design of highly autonomous systems, but he is also a manager of projects, managing every aspect to meet
intense timing pressures. Shane is goal oriented and self-motivated and a motivator of others.
Shane is awarded with issued patents repeatedly, 100 times in fact and holds Ford’s Technical Achievement Award as well as
Ford’s most prestigious award the Henry Ford Technology Award for the development of Ford’s Trailer Backup Assist.
Shane holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Pensacola Christian College.