Sad passing of first ITS Director of Research and 'the glue which pulled ITS together.'
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the passing of Howard Kirby. Howard joined ITS in 1978 and was with ITS until 1997 when he moved to Napier. He retired from Napier in 2008.
Howard was our first real director of research when there were no research groups. He championed the early use of neural networks in transport applications and pushed others to go for creative research ideas. He was instrumental in getting ITS involved in European research and ITS was way ahead of any other department in the University in this respect –and this legacy carries on today. He was interested in everyone’s research and was the glue which pulled ITS together.
Howard was involved in the appointment of Oliver Carsten and Miles Tight via his bid to the AA Road Safety Foundation which sowed the seeds of our highly successful Human Factors group.
He also appointed Susan Grant-Muller and Mark Dougherty and so began the research into intelligent transport systems and neural networks.
He worked on ANPR and speech recognition and was always looking at how technology and new algorithms could be used in transportation.
From reading the memories of colleagues coming in over the weekend all mention how Howard was kind, supportive, imaginative and always there to help others. A true gentleman!
He will be sorely missed.
Professor Simon Shepherd