I am a Paris based historian of technology and cultural researcher, specialized in the field of mobility studies.
My main research field is the cultural history of automobility and autonomous driving: The historical transformation of cultural dreams, hopes and fears, the imaginary and semiotic symbolism that is associated with mobility technologies is my main research topic. During the last years, I published about past visions of the future – especially the history of autonomous driving – and about the representation of cars in French and American films. Visual culture and cinema studies are in the center of my intellectual passions.
In December 2016, I received a PhD degree in History of Technology and Cultural Theory from the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the Humboldt-University Berlin. My thesis was supervised in cotutelle by Prof. Anne-Françoise Garçon (Paris) and Prof. Hartmut Böhme (Berlin). It focused on the relations between cultural images and scientific knowledge of the car accident in France and the United States (1945-1975).
During my PhD-thesis, I participated in two transnational and interdisciplinary research projects: First, the Daimler and Benz Foundation hired me to examine the cultural dimensions of autonomous driving. Second, the Forum Vie Mobiles – a think tank supported by the French National Railways SNCF – asked for expertise on the imaginary of trains. My contribution focused on the cultural signification of the railway in cinema.
Currently, my research interests are centered on the history of robotics, computer history and artificial intelligence: I finished a book (Oct. 2017 – Oct. 2022) about fifty years of research on autonomous driving (1950-2000) in Japan, the United States and Germany. This transnational study on pioneers, innovations and technological change is structured in three parts: The US-chapter presents the research on mobile robots at Stanford (Shakey, Stanford Cart), the ALV-program of DARPA, the researches of Carnegie Mellon University (NavLab), Demo ’97 of PATH and military programs (Demo I-III). The chapter about Japan is centered on the research of Sadayuki Tsugawa of the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory in Tsukuba. The chapter about the German research efforts details the 4-D approach of Ernst-Dieter Dickmanns and presents the research vehicles VaMoRs, VamP and the Prometheus-program (87-94) of the European Union. The book project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Defence, Germany.
Last update: February 5, 2023.