Burkhard Huhnke

Burkhard Huhnke

GM and Board Member for Product Engineering at Volkswagen Group of America


Burkhard has been leading the product engineering team in Chattanooga since 2014 and also serves as a Board Member for Product Engineering. The team of R&D experts that he oversees provides technical support for quality assurance, procurement, logistics and production for the local models, including the Volkswagen Passat and Midsize-SUV.

At Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Huhnke previously served as head of the Volkswagen integration and validation center for electronics system for three years. He also initiated and implemented Europe’s largest test laboratory for automotive battery packages and components for the Volkswagen Group and worked on the e-traction projects e-Golf and e-Up.

From 2006 to 2011, Huhnke was the Executive Director of Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif. He initiated the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Center (VAIL) at the Stanford University Campus together with Stanford Professors Thrun, Nass and Gerdes. He was the project leader for the autonomous car Volkswagen Passat Junior, participating in the DARPA Grand Challenge and the Pikes Peak hill climbing driverless Audi TTS.

Huhnke was born in Braunschweig, Germany. He studied electrical engineering, measurement and control at the University of Braunschweig from 1988 to 1993. Huhnke’s professional career began as project engineer in 1994 at an optical sensor company in Wetzlar, where he specialized in vehicle dynamics measurement. From 1996 to 1998 he was a PhD student at the Technical University of Braunschweig, where he received his doctorate in 1999 “with honor”. For his thesis about optical distance measurement he was awarded the 1999 German Measurement Award.

Huhnke serves as a member of the Board of Advisors at the college of engineering at University of Knoxville, Tennessee.