Ding Zhao is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is also associated with the Computer Science Department, Robotics Institute, CyLab Security & Privacy Institute, and Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. He is a visiting researcher at Google Brain/Robotics. Leading the CMU Safe AI Laboratory, Zhao aims to create trustworthy AI that is robust, safe, generalizable as well as explainable, verifiable, and human-centric. His long-term goal is to develop fundamental theories and practical technologies to safely deploy AI to address some of the world's most pressing problems.

Zhao is recognized nationally and internationally for his research on trustworthy AI, with applications in intelligent autonomy and healthcare. He is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, George Tallman Ladd Research Award, MIT Technology Review 35 under 35 China Award, Ford University Collaboration Award, Carnegie-Bosch Research Award, Struminger Teaching Award, and industrial fellowship awards from Adobe, Bosch, and Toyota. He worked with leading industrial partners, including Google Brain, Amazon, Ford, Uber, IBM, Adobe, Bosch, Toyota, and Rolls-Royce.

B10 Scaife Hall
Google Scholar
Ding Zhao
Safe AI Lab website

USDOT 2022 Cybersecurity Forum

Making AI Safer for Autonomous Vehicles


2016 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan

2010 BS, Automotive Engineering, Jilin University

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

2023 Dean’s Early Career Fellows announced

Xi (Charlie) Ren, Victoria Webster-Wood, and Ding Zhao have received the honor for their contributions to their respective fields.

CMU Engineering

Driving autonomy into the metaverse

Students in Ding Zhao’s lab were awarded the 2022 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship for their proposal to generate diverse safety-critical autonomous vehicle scenarios using digital twins.


Zhao quoted on reducing emissions using AI

MechE’s Ding Zhao was quoted by Lifewire on the potential impact of self-driving cars, delivery robots, and drones on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

2022 Faculty Awards announced

The 2022 Engineering Faculty Awards winners have been announced.

CMU Engineering

Robots that can learn to safely navigate warehouses

Advances in chips, sensors, and AI algorithms are enabling robots to continuously learn how to plan routes, avoid obstructions, and operate safely in large dynamic warehouse environments.

Time Magazine

Zhao quoted on digital twins

MechE’s Ding Zhao was quoted by Time Magazine on digital twins, an exact digital re-creation of an object or environment.

CMU Engineering

Artificial Intelligence you can trust

Professor Ding Zhao developed a new course that trains engineering students how to make artificial intelligence trustworthy.

CMU Engineering

NSF CAREER grants awarded to engineering faculty

Four engineering faculty received NSF CAREER awards to support their education and research goals.

Carnegie Bosch Institute

Engineering faculty receives CBI funding

CEE’s Burcu Akinci and Gerald Wang; CyLab’s Eunsuk Kang; ECE’s Gauri Joshi; EPP’s Alex Davis; and MechE’s Satbir Singh, and Conrad Tucker, and Ding Zhao were awarded funding from the Carnegie Bosch Institute.


Zhao quoted on AI

MechE’s Ding Zhao was quoted on WIRED on AI reinforcement learning.

Purdue University

Zhao’s AI research funded by Rolls-Royce

MechE’s Ding Zhao is working with researchers from Purdue University on a project funded by Rolls-Royce that is focused on artificial intelligence for intrusion detection.


Zhao quoted on simulations

MechE’s Ding Zhao was quoted in WIRED about using simulations for industrial applications.