College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Robert Prucka of Clemson University elected fellow of SAE International


A Clemson University professor who is internationally renowned for mentoring automotive engineering students and for his scholarship in advanced engine control has earned one of his profession’s highest honors.

Robert Prucka, the Alan Kulwicki Professor of Motorsports Engineering, is among the newest fellows in SAE International, an association of about 200,000 members.

The SAE Fellow Membership designation is awarded to an elite group of professionals in the automotive, commercial vehicle, and aerospace industries who have made a significant impact on mobility through leadership, research, publishing, innovation, and volunteering. SAE International elects about 20 new fellows a year, making it an exceptional professional distinction.

Robert Prucka works in his lab at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

“I’m deeply honored by this recognition from SAE International,” Prucka said. “Every achievement in automotive engineering is a shared journey with brilliant students and colleagues. Their passion fuels my own, and together, we drive the future of innovation. Thank you to SAE International, my nominators and all my supporters for spotlighting our collective efforts.”

Prucka has led several student-centric projects. Among them was the Deep Orange 12 vehicle-prototyping program in which he mentored 40 students as they built a high-speed autonomous race car. It was the first Deep Orange car to go into production.

For the Deep Orange 9 project, Prucka oversaw a team of 20 students in designing a 600-horsepower, hybrid-electric, rallycross race car.

“Robert’s dedication to automotive research and nurturing future talent is unmatched,” said Laine Mears, chair of Clemson’s Department of Automotive Engineering. “SAE International’s recognition is a testament to his persistent pursuit of innovation and excellence in automotive engineering education and scholarship.”

Prucka’s academic pursuits focus on the design, control, calibration, performance and emissions of advanced powertrain systems. In some of his most recent research, he is delving into the integration of artificial intelligence and advanced control techniques for the development and functionality of electric powertrains in self-driving off-road vehicles.

Prucka is also exploring innovative eco-friendly internal combustion engine ideas.

SAE International is a global association of engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries, according to its website.

The citation that helped Prucka win the fellow honor reads:

“Professor Robert Prucka has made significant contributions to automotive engineering through education-focused collegiate prototype vehicle design-manufacture projects and sustained research contributions regarding advanced engine control.

“His accomplishments have benefited society through the education of future automobile engineers, with advanced technology demonstration vehicles, and scholarly publications on innovative engine technology.”

Prucka’s previous honors include the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award in 2017 and the Murray Stokely Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015 from Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

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