Johannes Kristinsson: Willing and Able To Tackle The Toughest Technological Tasks

Johannes Kristinsson, systems architect, Vehicle Controls Architecture and Algorithm Design, Ford Research and Innovation
  • Who: Johannes Kristinsson, systems architect, Vehicle Controls Architecture and Algorithm Design, Ford Research and Innovation
  • Role: Member of team working to define control systems for tomorrow’s hybrid electric vehicles
  • Did you know? Kristinsson is a musician who once worked for a company that installed wireless Internet access on more than 100 trains in Europe

Every problem has a solution and Johannes Kristinsson says he has exactly what it takes to figure things out: strong persistence.

Perhaps that’s why Kristinsson, 31, finds his job as a system architect in Vehicle Controls Architecture and Algorithm Design at Ford Research and Innovation so thrilling.

He is part of the team working to define control systems – software, basically – for tomorrow’s hybrid electric vehicles.

“I think there is a solution to every problem and I’m very persistent,” said Kristinsson. “The way to lure me into something is to present it as a challenge.”

He says that is especially true when it comes to technology. As a result, Kristinsson has built a career out of successfully tackling tough technological tasks.

His first job was at a business he co-founded in 1995 called 4bit HB, a company that built websites for other businesses. Starting in 2000, he was involved with numerous information technology companies including Icomera, where he was part of a team that installed Wi-Fi® Internet systems on high-speed trains in Europe.

In 2007 he started working as a consultant with Gothenburg, Sweden-based Know IT Technology Management, which was involved in several projects with Volvo Car Corp., then part of Ford Motor Company. It was through his work with Volvo that he met Ryan McGee, technology expert in the Vehicle Controls Architecture and Algorithm Design area of Ford Research and Innovation.

McGee recruited him to Ford, where Kristinsson started working in 2008.

“Before Volvo and Ford, I was never really that much into cars. That has never been an issue, though, because we all know a vehicle has become much more than just a powertrain,” said Kristinsson, who adds that as an inventor of new features for cars, he is definitely into them now.

Today, Kristinsson spends his days working on research projects that address the control systems of future vehicles.

For example, one research project involves identifying technologies that could make tomorrow’s vehicles smart enough to independently change their behavior and work with the driver as a team to deliver optimal driveability and fuel efficiency.

Kristinsson said he finds the work rewarding.

“I have always been drawn to the research and creative aspects of information technology,” said Kristinsson. “Due to the nature of our business we don’t always see the products we work on come to market very fast. But that’s okay, because I know what we’re doing is going to affect a lot of people in the future.”

Kristinsson’s parents are from Iceland and Finland and he is a citizen of Iceland, though he works in Dearborn, Mich. He was raised in Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2003, he earned a master’s degree in computer science at Chalmers University of Technology, also in Gothenburg.

He said that the two most important things in his life are technology and music. He has been involved in choirs since he started singing at the age of 8. Some of his experience and positions include serving as a board member of both the Gothenburg Boys Choir and the Chalmers University Choir. From 2002 to 2003, he served as conductor of the Chalmers Female Choir. His involvement in music continues today as a member of the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Ann Arbor.

Personal Insights and Fun Facts

  • Kristinsson was born and raised in Sweden, where he lived until relocating to Dearborn to work for Ford
  • From 2002 to 2003, he served as conductor for the Chalmers Female Choir
  • Kristinsson began singing when he was 8 years old and continues singing today as a member of the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • He drives a 2011 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
  • Kristinsson also enjoys sailing and snow skiing


About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit

News Center