For over a century, the automobile provided three key interfaces to the driver: brake, accelerator and steering wheel. The average driver can’t (and shouldn’t) handle any more complexity while processing visual information from the road ahead. AI, on the other hand, promises to manage many more car controls, while simultaneously processing signals from dozens of cameras and hundreds of other sensors.
In the brave new world of autonomous vehicles, the technology stack is evolving rapidly with large research commitments around the globe in hardware, software and machine learning. Every car maker, dozens of suppliers and hundreds of startups are working on self-driving technology. Eventually, bespoke solutions will be overtaken by a small number of robust and scalable best-in-class solutions for individual components being adopted across the industry, accelerating innovation and lowering costs for everyone.
No single player is likely to dominate any part of such a horizontally organized, complex [autonomous vehicle] value chain by itself. For each part of the ecosystem, there might be room for only a few winners, since few players will be able to invest the resources necessary to reach scale.
McKinsey & Company, “How the convergence of automotive and tech will create a new ecosystem”
To realize this vision, we need to help catalyze a few key points of orchestration. First is a framework that is built with safety, security and reliability in mind, and which allows multiple companies to innovate, inter-operate and compete. A production-grade OS and algorithm development framework for the self-driving car is the apex of this emerging ecosystem. Starting from well known open source components is a natural choice.
Apex.AI is doing just that, and is co-founded by Jan Becker and Dejan Pangercic, leading researchers with the vision to make autonomy a reality -- for vehicles, robots, drones; in land, sea or aerospace.
Most recently, at Google, I have launched platforms and scaled them rapidly as development frameworks (e.g. AR / VR on Android; Chrome OS for computing). Getting the industry ready to adopt a framework for AI techniques in self-driving cars is a grand challenge and an opportunity. I am excited to join the leadership team at Apex.AI as VP of Product, to shape the future of mobility and move us, quite literally, forward.