Welcome to Episode 10 of The Robot Report Podcast, which brings conversations with robotics innovators straight to you. Join us every Wednesday for discussions with leading roboticists, innovative robotics companies, and other key members of the robotics community.
This week Gene and I talk with Daniel Goff, head of policy at Kodiak Robotics, a California-based startup developing technology for autonomous trucks. The discussion hits on the state of the industry, why robo-trucks are the new robo-taxis, the role of simulation, and Kodiak’s approach to middle-mile autonomous trucking. And we bash disengagements as a measuring stick for autonomous vehicle safety, which is always fun.
Gene and I also discuss former Google executive Anthony Levandowski, who yesterday was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets before departing to work at Uber. The jail time will be served when the COVID-19 pandemic ends. “This is the biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen. This was not small. This was massive in scale,” said US District Judge William Alsup in sentencing Levandowski. As part of the sentencing, Levandowski is fined $95,000 and ordered to pay $756,499.22 in restitution to Google’s self-driving car unit, Waymo.
We also briefly discuss our tele-operation of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot from 3,000-plus miles away. We walked Spot around Golden Gate Park in San Francisco from our homes near Boston, using only our laptops. This walk was organized by Formant, a software startup that helps analyze and monitor robot fleets. Our discussion during the walk with Jeff Linnell, CEO and founder of Formant, will be featured on next week’s podcast.
You’ll also hear my recent discussion with Tyler Mantel, co-founder of The Ventilator Project. The non-profit spun out of MassRobotics to develop a low-cost ventilator for ICU patients. A shortage of ventilators is an ongoing problem, but it has become more prominent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you to everyone who has listened, subscribed, and given us feedback over this first 10 weeks. It’s been a lot of fun. And if you would like to be a guest on an upcoming episode of the podcast, or if you have recommendations for future guests or segment ideas, contact Steve or Eugene. For sponsorship opportunities of The Robot Report Podcast, contact Courtney Nagle for more information.
0-2:44 – Show Intro
2:45-38:07 Talking autonomous trucks with Daniel Goff, Head of Policy, Kodiak Robotics
38:09-40:56 – Tele-operating Spot teaser
40:57-50:00 – Anthony Levandowski heads to jail
50:00-1:05:32 – The Ventilator Project with Tyler Mantel
1:05:33-1:06:25 – Show Outro
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We tele-operated Spot around Golden Gate Park from 3,000 miles away
The Ventilator Project