In 2007, Carnegie Mellon's Tartan Racing team won the DARPA urban challenge and kicked off the push for autonomous vehicles that now has real cars driving on real roads and will soon birth real businesses. Bryan Salesky was a key contributor to Tartan's victory, and he has taken the expertise he gained there to Google, Caterpillar and now Argo AI, the AV development company he founded and runs. In just a few short years, Salesky has turned Argo into a major player in the space, inking a partnership first with Ford and now possibly with Volkswagen as well.
On this week's Merge Now, Salesky joins the show to reflect on how things have changed in the world of autonomous drive technology as it transitions from science experiment to real-world products and services. In the process he touches on some of the hottest controversies in the AV world, from sensor choices and the challenges of end-to-end deep learning to data collection techniques and the decision to target Level 4 deployments in specific cities rather than developing a "general solution" to self-driving. Balancing insight with accessibility, Salesky provides a valuable perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing autonomous vehicle developers today.