Chosen because: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk predicts fully autonomous vehicles will be on the road by the end of 2017, and the automaker is attracting top talent to make that prediction come true. Sterling Anderson, 33, received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, going on to launch a technology company that develops intelligent vehicle systems and working at McKinsey & Co. before moving to Tesla in 2014. He was responsible for the launch of the Model X crossover and is overseeing the development of Tesla's semiautonomous driving software, Autopilot.
Quote: "Since I began my work in vehicular autonomy nearly a decade ago, 10 million people have died and nearly half a billion others have been injured in traffic-related accidents. Automating the driving task -- even in phases -- is an imperative too urgent to wait for perfection."