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The Heart and Soul of Autonomous Driving

August 31, 2017
by Glen De Vos, Delphi's chief technology officer

When people think about software development for automated driving, most people’s minds automatically leap to Silicon Valley. But, did you know the true epicenter is out east? Surprised? Pittsburgh is the birthplace of autonomous vehicle technology, and along with other cities such as Boston, the eastern part of the country is arguably becoming the heart and soul of automated technology development.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has one of the world’s best, if not the best, robotics program. CMU was home to some of the most well-known names involved in autonomous technology – many names you would know from the DARPA Challenges to their world renowned National Robotics Engineering Center. 

But, not all of the smartest people are well-known names, at least outside of this tight community of computer scientists and robotics engineers – and that’s by choice. We are very proud of our team that work out of our Pittsburgh Labs.

Delphi acquired Ottomatika, a start-up that spun out from CMU, in 2015 and the creators have developed the most advanced autonomous driving algorithms on the planet. Let me tell you, these are seriously brilliant minds and it is because of their capability and dedication that Ottomatika continues to be a pioneer in the self-driving space. After our epic autonomous cross country drive in 2015, using Ottomatika algorithms, we went on to show the most complex urban autonomous driving demo – ever – at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year.

This year, we are building a fleet of self-driving cars to continue the real-world application and integration of our highly-advanced autonomous platform, Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) Platform. These cars will then be deployed all over the world – to places like Singapore, where we have been engaged in an Automated Mobility-on-Demand (AMoD) pilot in partnership with the Singapore government for more than a year; or to France – to Paris or Normandy to work in an AMoD pilot program with another partner, Transdev, the second largest transportation provider in the world. The cars will also be sent to Silicon Valley, Detroit, the east coast, and other sites where we are deeply engaged with Smart City initiatives and customer development programs globally.

We will be demonstrating to our customers and partners that these cars are automotive grade with mission-critical safety systems and redundancies – and in what it looks like a normal car. No one else can say that.

Ottomatika is busting at the seams with an influx of interested engineers, jumping at the chance to work on this world-changing technology because they can do just that. Young engineers, right out of school – as well as those with more experience – are thrilled to learn that once they start, they really start. They work on autonomous vehicle technology – right away. From day one, they roll-up their sleeves and build self-driving cars.

I’ve talked to a few new team members who say they came to Delphi Labs in Pittsburgh for two reasons. One, to work with and learn from some of the smartest minds on the planet. And two, to work on – truly work on – and have an impact on developing self-driving cars.

It’s no secret that there is a battle for talented engineers, software developers and computer scientists to work on this industry-altering technology. It’s true. But, if you are looking for a place to work that is making a difference, right here and right now – we may have a home for you.

Check us out.