James Philbin who was working with Waymo priorly is hired by Rivian to lead AI and autonomy signals towards the company showing its interest in self-driving technology.
Philbin was the director of software engineering at Waymo for two years and worked at Zoox before working at Waymo for five years where he headed computer vision and perception. Zoox is Amazon’s self-driving subsidiary.
RJ Scaringe, Rivian founder, and CEO posted on Linkedin, “As we look at our future roadmap and the integral role of AI/ML, James’ arrival couldn’t come at a more impactful time.”
While on stage, Scaringe stated that he expects Level 2 and 3 systems to handle driving tasks requiring human support if required which will get better with time than Level 4. It is expected to do all the driving in every condition.
He stated that Rivian will be adding sensing modalities as chipmakers increase the capacity of computing, they could add Level 4 autonomy. The autonomous function is not just to attract customers in an attempt to outdo Tesla’s autopilot.
Scaringe stated, “I think what we’ve seen happen with the hardware-heavy systems is that it takes a lot of capital and the roadmap is much longer than most anticipated.”
He added, “The reason for that is it’s much better than the best human,”
“The vehicle’s not going to check its phone for a text, it’s not going to get distracted by something out the window. So the safety aspect of moving into these Level 2, Level 3 systems that intentionally drive towards more and more time being driven by the vehicle itself is meaningful and real.”