2019 ALL STAR | AUTOMATED DRIVING
Back when the entire tech and auto industries wanted to ride the fast lane toward an autonomous future, Bryan Salesky, 39, was a lonely voice preaching patience and practicality from his perch as CEO of Argo AI.
Sticking to a belief that autonomous vehicles remained a long-term project wasn’t always fashionable.
But as the rest of the world has now recognized the magnitude of the challenge, Salesky’s even-keeled approach has enhanced his credibility.
If that wasn’t clear before, it was evident when Volkswagen Group invested $2.6 billion in Salesky’s company in July.
That was on top of a $1 billion investment from Ford Motor Co., which plans to use the Pittsburgh startup’s self-driving system as the cornerstone of a commercial business expected to launch in 2021.
Building autonomous driving systems for two major automakers gives Argo AI the potential for global scale.
“That validates our approach,” Salesky said. “It’s about getting to the right solution, and not being first.”
His path began as the software engineering lead for Tartan Racing, the Carnegie Mellon University entry that won the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. Later, he led development of the hardware portfolio for what was then Google’s self-driving car project.