Ionut Budișteanu

Founder, VisionBot
Age 24, Romania
for creating a cost-effective self-driving car

About Ionut Budișteanu

Ionut Budișteanu is a twenty-year-old freshman college student at the University of Bucharest, nominated by TIME magazine as one of the most influential teens of 2013, primarily for his design for a low-cost, self-driving car. The prototype design won the Gordon E. Moore grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for high school students.

Mr. Budișteanu has been programming for almost ten years and has participated in more than 130 design and IT competitions in which he has won many awards. He got his first computer when he was only three years old. His goal is not to be rich and famous, but “to do something positive for the world,” as he says himself. An innovator invested in technologies, he is working on numerous and diverse projects, including a phone and tablet app with the potential to revolutionize walking navigation for the blind – a device that helps to distinguish forms and luminosities by means of a chip placed on the tongue.

He is a strong supporter of online connectivity and open technologies, especially the growing availably of research materials – scientific books and article accessed through the Internet. Although he received offers to study at the San Francisco University and an internship offer from Google Switzerland, he declined both in order to focus on his independent work. As Mr. Budișteanu says: “You can use your computer to play games, or you can use it to win a Nobel Prize. Everyone has a chance to do something amazing.” He recently announced plans to launch his first startup company VisionBot, focused on creating professional low-quality Pick and Place machines. He has also expressed his aspirations to become a university scholar, citing his professors as inspiration for his constant development and creativity.

The young scientist is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is also a Romanian Tourism Ambassador. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary diplomatic passport in a ceremony organized by the Romanian government.

The Minor Planet (28854) Budișteanu is named after him.