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Voyage is hiring an Engineering Manager for the Perception Team! Here is the job description.

If you want this job:

  1. Apply through the website.
  2. Mention that David Silver sent you! (Maybe they’ll give me a referral bonus?)
  3. Send me ( your CV and I’ll pester HR.

I sat down for an exclusive interview with Voyage VP of Talent Jason Wong to learn more about this exciting position.

(Truly, we were sitting down. I know some people do the standing desk thing, and I probably should do that, too. Voyage even supplies those standing desks during Covid, if I could haul myself down to the office to pick one up. But for now, I sit. …

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I interviewed Ben Alfi, the CEO of Blue White Robotics, and wrote for about the company’s aspirations to provide a vendor-neutral cloud robotics platform.

The company aspires to support any type of robot on its platform. The management and orchestration that Blue White Robotics aims to provide its customers is reminiscent of the functionality that cloud computing providers, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, offer. Just as cloud computing services typically don’t build servers themselves, but rather rent them to customers on-demand, Blue White Robotics hopes to achieve the same with autonomous vehicles.

This expands on my post about the company from a few weeks ago. After writing about them a little bit here, I was intrigued and was fortunate to be able to talk with their executive leadership for a deeper dive. I enjoyed it and I hope you do, too!

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Like other people, I like to start the year by making predictions about what will happen, particularly with respect to self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles. Following the example of Scott Alexander, I assign probabilities to my predictions.

100% Confidence

No Level 5 self-driving cars will be deployed anywhere in the world.

90% Confidence

Level 4 driverless vehicles, without a safety operator, will remain publicly available, somewhere in the world.
No “self-driving-only” public road will exist in the U.S.
Tesla will remain the industry leader in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
An autonomy company will be acquired for at least $100 million. …

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Normally, I’d wrap up 2020 by looking back at the predictions I made at the beginning of 2020. Except…I didn’t make any predictions at the beginning of 2020. I skipped a year, so I’ll have to dig back two years to look at the predictions I made at the start of 2019.

Following the example of Scott Alexander, I assign probabilities to my predictions. This allows a finer-grained evaluation of how accurate my predictions were. Unfortunately, scoring one-year predictions two years later kind of nullifies this exercise, but here we go.

100% Certain

✓No Level 5 self-driving cars will be deployed anywhere in the world. …

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Reuters reports that Ouster, a five year-old, San Francisco-based lidar startup, plans to go public via a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company), at a market capitalization of nearly $2 billion. Kudos to Paul Lienert at Reuters, who also broke a recent story on Apple’s car efforts and is having quite a week.

According to Reuters, Ouster is the fifth lidar company this year to “agree” to go public via a SPAC, after Velodyne, Luminar, Innoviz, and Aeva. …

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Credit: Mac Higgins

Apple’s Project Titan has gone through a lot of ups and downs over the past six years. Today, a team at Reuters reports that the effort is still alive.

From the beginning, the project has focused on both autonomy and electrification. Reuters points to progress on the latter.

”It’s next level,” the person said of Apple’s battery technology. “Like the first time you saw the iPhone.”

Before that quote, the Reuters article does qualify this “person” as, “familiar with the companies plans.” Nonetheless, it’s amusing to read quote after quote attributed to “the person.” Apple takes secrecy seriously.

The article shares detail about “monocell” battery design that is beyond my expertise, but seems like progress. …

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Yesterday, Zoox unveiled its long-awaited vehicle. It doesn’t yet have a name (the Zoox website lists it simply as, “VEHICLE”), although the press describes it as a “carriage”, at least in form factor. It resembles the Cruise Origin more than a little bit, including the glass elevator-style doors.

Zoox has done some amazing technical work with this vehicle. Most notably, the vehicle supposedly moves it not only forward and backward, like a normal car, but also side-to-side, like a dolley.

That said, I am a little skeptical about the utility of a four-person passenger vehicle as the true form factor for the self-driving future. We’re used to four-person vehicles now because consumers have to purchase cars that fill lowest-common-denominator needs. In a transportation-as-a-service world, though, I suspect we’ll all want to travel in our own personal vehicles.


David Silver

I love self-driving cars and I work on them at Voyage!

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