Richard Pelletier

Graduate Trans Design


Richard A. Pelletier is currently the Head of Strategic Design of aiPod Inc., a California based startup developing autonomous urban Mobility-as-a-Service.

In 1998, Richard's first job out of ArtCenter College of Design was at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn. Here, Richard combined experience design methods with his deep passion for innovative car design. Richard was engaged on multiple digital experience projects including the 24.7 concept car.

Seeing the increasing need to grow a digital/physical experience design capacity at Ford he crafted a capacity growth plan for J. Mays, VP Design in Q2 of 2000, defining the resources Ford would need to deliver in the coming years. Unfortunately, the larger Ford enterprise was not yet ready for the first investment.

However, BMW Design was ready to invest his vision and hired Richard to start-up the BMW California Innovation Triangle. From 2000-2005 Richard lead global creative collaborations integrating BMW Technology Research, User Testing, and Design to build digital and physical prototypes to enhance the BMW car, motorcycle and Formula One driving experiences. He is the primary investigator in several BMW patents including interaction methodologies for autonomous vehicles, head-mounted displays, and subsystems of ADAS.

From 2005-11 Richard was a founding member and builder of the user-centered, Research and Strategy practice within the BMW Designworks consultancy. There, he lead the research, design and application of best-in-class tools and processes for global context insight and ethnographic research, Experience Design Strategy, Portfolio Strategy, Visual Brand Language and Guides for Designworks clients including the BMW “i” brand, Rolls Royce, HP, John Deere, Coca-Cola and the Bay Area Rapid Transit.

Within Designworks Richard became a thought leader in urban mobility and automation, advising his senior leaders on key issues and opportunities. He has been an advisory board member and speaker at the UCLA Institute for Transportation Studies (ITS) and a panel speaker at SXSW on automation.

In 2013 Richard returned to Ford HQ in Dearborn to build and lead a global User Experience Design organization. As Global Director of Advanced UX Design, Richard established Ford's global leadership team to curate a holistic user-centered vision and strategy for Ford cars, Ford trucks and Lincoln to respond to mega-shifts like urbanization, automation, sharing, and big data. In 3 years the team grew from 1-200 people with a budget of about $30 million.

Mr. Pelletier is a dual citizen of the United States and Italy. He has grown a successful marriage of 22 years while living in Switzerland, Germany and various regions of the United States. His family enjoys homeschooling, cooking and eating dinner together most nights, hiking in the wild and international travel.


  • Thesis Development Studio
  • Adv Concept & Sys Des Studio
  • Future Scenarios Dev
  • Prod Dev & Mfg Tech