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Bryan Salesky Outlines Pathway to a Connected, Autonomous Future

In a one-on-one conversation with Argo AI CEO and Co-founder Bryan Salesky at the 2020 MICHauto Summit, “Autoline” host John McElroy emphasized the accelerated pace of the autonomous and connected vehicle movement over the past few years.

“The rate of improvement in autonomy was breathtaking,” said McElroy.

Salesky acknowledged that progress will only continue to pick up. While the technology hasn’t quite taken hold in the mainstream, enormous progress has been made on the backend. Salesky reinforced the gradual nature of these developments and the nuanced steps necessary to make it a reality. Real-world data and examples are essential to building these systems, and that observation and analysis takes testing and time.

“I try to be a voice of reason in this whole sector,” said Salesky. “It’s going to be a gradual ramp. There’s a lot more at stake here than just building the technologies. There’s also getting communities and cities and people to raise their education and awareness of the good things that autonomous vehicles can provide.”

Salesky then asserted the importance of leading with safety rather than speed. It’s a consideration he and the Argo AI team take not only in developing technology but also in selecting suppliers and partners.

“We have a responsibility to put safety in front of everything,” said Salesky. “When you’re working on something this complex, putting arbitrary timelines on it is not helpful to anybody.”

Salesky went on to paint the picture of what the autonomous vehicle movement looks like in the immediate future. While the technology is still developing and carries a significant cost, the vehicles will likely be part of shared service fleets before they’re practical for individual ownership.

In closing, Salesky explained that the next major phase of development will occur on the business side. Experimentation is underway to create sustainable, productive business models capable of supporting these technologies.

Thank you to MEDC/PlanetM for sponsoring this session.