A highlight from Are You Better Than the Average Human?
The automakers and tech companies working on autonomous vehicle technology for so called robot. Taxis have found themselves stuck in the dreaded trough of disillusionment. You know the trough. It's where artificial intelligence or crypto currency or virtual reality developers have found themselves to the means that technological progress is hard to spot and there aren't many believers. It was a tough year painful year. A lot more tash burned without much. Payoff it's a familiar story to amirah. Friday the information's executive editor. Who has been one of the sectors fiercest muckrakers. There are a ton of real world challenges that have appended those robo. Taxi dreams but the stakes are only getting higher. Companies in the sector from light are makers to trucking startups are starting to get a ton more cash thanks to public listings inspects that will put them firmly in the public market spotlight. That's going to present. Its own challenge. Shortsellers are going to be there watching the real financial consequences when deadlines are this. Is the four one one. I'm cory weinberg on today that soda. You highlights from the information's fifth annual autonomous vehicle. Summit we have two interviews for you that you're dead where he asked his own questions and fielded some from the offense virtual attendees. The first interview is with. Brian celeski the ceo of argo. A self driving car startup backed by ford. That is testing. About one. Hundred and fifty prototype autonomous vehicles in places like ami austin and pittsburgh celeski said argo a. I is looking to go public within the next year. The second interview is with tim. Kinsley clay who was fired as the founding. Ceo of self driving car startup zips before it soul to amazon last year. He recently founded a new self driving car. Startup called hyper. I wanted to know given that were in this kind of strange period of disillusionment in in among some technologists. What gives you the confidence to know that. What you're building is gonna work. you know. Yeah the media has been pretty harsh on us of the evening sector right. But i i would say that all that opportunity is still there in. At least we've always said this is going to be a multi year multi potentially even decade long thing to achieve. I'm happy to say that everything that we set out to do in twenty seventeen were continuing to forge on. We've made great progress. And we're looking forward to commercializing this starting out. In those businesses working were actively working with real customers today. We haven't announced those pilots but Have had really great validation In those pilots that we've run This year and will continue to do but is there. Is there anything specific about the software. Something that's giving you confidence that you're heading in the right direction. Yes percent when we started out in seventeen we were operating in some of the hardest cities to drive in in a lot of people that turn some heads right but we went where the demand is where we know we can stand up a great business in for years later regularly driving without any takeover disengagements in some of these tough miles were dealing with construction intersections where humans are not behaving according to the rules at all Double triple parked vehicles traffic lights. That are out You know stop signs of fall down the whole nine yards right and it's just it's really incredible. How much progress. The team has made and You know as we continue our testing and development. We're gonna continue to improve that system. But i think the next stage now beyond just the technology questions. The is okay. Now who's gonna build a put together a a a truly profit generating business around this technology right in in what to go after And you see you see a lot of folks active in trucking. And that's something we're also looking at We're really work. We've been focused since seventeen has been on that urban core where there's a lot of trips There's a lot of demand there's a high amount of utilization over large time window to work whether that be delivering goods moving people Going address to address in that opportunity remains huge. So in in terms of your your approach. Obviously i'm sure you saw waymo move a lot of its efforts to san francisco. Some of its efforts to san francisco. You've always taken this this kind of multi-city approach in had kind of a more urban Testing environment that you focused on. Do you feel like some of the players in this field aired in in focusing so much on the suburbs will i think that Every company has its own objectives right For us it was about Making sure that we could build a business around around the miles that we were automating and then Making sure that we go after that right. Because in any sort of robotic system development It becomes really easy to start to sort of teach to kinda the miles that you're operating in the system starts to find like this local minima where it will only ever operate on those miles and so what we wanted to do is throw a lot of diversity. At the system from the gecko and make sure that we weren't Over fitting to any particular city I think we've effectively done that. In the most recent city that we added was austin. In a matter of about a month we had that city mapped in. Were up at running. So that's that's gets to Building for scale from starting. That's something we really focused on when since we started the company. Can you tell us a little bit more about that. What you're what you're looking for in an ipo. And you know. Does it make sense for the public