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Thread: Autonomous Vehicles (new job ?)

  1. #1
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    Autonomous Vehicles (new job ?)

    I've been looking to move jobs, and also potentially move out of London. Atsuko and I have always been fond of Cambridge, so I looked at jobs there.

    Anyway, I had an interview on Tues at five.ai, and today they've offered me a job (albeit details such as salary to be discussed).

    They're a startup founded last year, and are developing a software and sensor package that can fit any* car, making it autonomous. They're aiming to have autonomous taxis in South London by the end of 2019, as part of a government initiative.

    It's not 100%, but I'm hoping everything will work out and I'll be moving to Cambridge shortly. I'm excited, as it's such a cool challenge programming a car to drive itself, but also a bit nervous, as it's way different to what I've done so far, and they will be expecting me to bring in some 'professional software development' practices. Also, the interview was tough, I thought I hadn't done that well afterwards.

    Anyway, I'll keep y'all informed of how things work out. Questions and scepticism welcome!

  2. #2
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    Good luck.

    You don't want to move to Bristol?

  3. #3
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    What do they mean by any car?
    What are the actual prerequisites? AT, DBW, ...

  4. #4
    Recreational Gynecologist MR2 Fan's Avatar
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    sure, I want to see an autonomous driving yugo
    ║]=(86)=[║

  5. #5
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    Wow! Sound like a fun and challenging job! Autonomous driving seems to be the next big thing...

    On a more negative side, you probably should also give them a tough interview. Try to figure out if you really believe in this company... Because there seems to be a lot of folks currently working on autonomous cars. Why would this one have a higher chance of success? You might take a few months or years on the job to figure that one out...

    Anyway, speaking purely regarding autonomous driving tech, I do wonder how things will play out. Probably will be like search engines that only 1 end up monopolizing everything as Google is now... However, if this company is more into after market mods to existing vehicles, then maybe there can be room for multiple players in this field...

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    Whatever you decide to do, I only wish the best for you mate!

    Of course I would like to say to people in a few years "Oh, that groundbreaking autonomous car? Yeah, my mate works for that company."

  7. #7
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    Way to sell out the human race to skynet. Hope it pays well.

  8. #8
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    'Any' car was badly phrased. Basically, what they said is that they spoke to the major carmakers about integrating, but discovered they'd have a five-year lead time. As they have a 2.5yr goal, they decided to deliver a package of software + add-on hardware that they can fit to ordinary cars. I imagine they'll do a deal with some manufacturer nearer the time.

    The 2.5 yr goal is a partially govt-funded initiative, they are aiming to launch a pilot scheme of autonomous taxis, basically, on-demand from your phone, in a limited area of South London.

    On the question of why five.ai would be the one to succeed, I agree that there are plenty of other players and success is far from guaranteed. I don't think I know enough to really judge. Their theory is that self-driving in Europe is different from in North America, what with our roundabouts, ancient road network, and different driving habits. Thus although Tesla, Google etc are likely to succeed locally, the race to launch a safe self-driving car in Europe is still wide open. I don't know how true this will turn out to be, but it's a theory.

    Apart from that, the head guy Stan Boland has been successful with tech startups before, and they have some top AI boffins from Cambridge, Oxford, etc helping out. They also seem to be in with the government (albeit a government with a potentially short shelf-life).

    At the least, they have funding for two years, so if they don't succeed I'll hopefully gain experience that will put me in a good position.

    I'm not sure that search is quite the right analogy for autonomous driving; I could imagine multiple companies creating workable systems within a few years, I don't think it naturally becomes a monopoly. Like how there are a handful of mobile phone makers; just because Samsung is #1, I can still buy an HTC.

    Yeah, my wife seems concerned I'm hastening the end of humanity with this career move! I'm curious to get an inside view of this AI... I'll let you know if we're in danger

    Quote Originally Posted by Yw-slayer View Post
    Whatever you decide to do, I only wish the best for you mate!
    Cheers, it's a challenge but it feels like a good bet to make.

  9. #9
    Corvette Enthusiast Kchrpm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samoht View Post
    Like how there are a handful of mobile phone makers; just because Samsung is #1, I can still buy an HTC.
    While I agree that, whether the company is an overwhelming success or otherwise, the experience for you will be invaluable, this comparison in particular is an interesting one for various reasons relating to HTC dying in the market.

    Anyway, the manufacturers will most likely be making the decisions on vehicle automation supplier choices, and purchasing in bulk on specific deals, so it's probably not that useful to compare to consumer products.
    Get that weak shit off my track

  10. #10
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    All it takes is one substantial tech innovation to guarantee a piece of the market for a long time. Often times these startups end up patenting some key piece of the puzzle, or get a significant edge or lead on a piece and get gobbled up by a larger player. Inventing the secret sauce that lets Apple or Google apply their tech to legacy vehicles would be a massive financial victory. Sometimes you get hosed not being the biggest fish in the pond, some times it's ULTIMATE VICTORY. What's life if not a roll of the dice?

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