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Ross Taylor
Works at Quanergy
Attended Louisiana Tech University
Lives in Houston, TX
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Ross Taylor

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Here's a (very) brief highlight from the +SpaceX​ landing +Yonatan Zunger​ shared earlier.
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Makes me wonder if in the future someone will build an island that is more in the launch trajectory for the first stage to return to. Would also be safer since you don't have to approach populated area. 
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Forbes Magazine on Quanergy — This Startup Has The Technology That Can Put Autonomous Cars On The Road In 2019
by Liane Yvkoff
Forbes | November 20, 2015

The road to autonomous cars is paved with sensors, radars, cameras, and most importantly, LiDARs.

“You cannot build autonomous cars without LiDAR, and anyone who thinks differently, please challenge me.”

This statement about laser radar systems was made by Louay Eldada, CEO of Quanergy, to a crowd at the Connected Car Expo in Los Angeles, Calif., but it seemed directed to Tesla CEO Elon Musk or anyone who may have listened to his press conference in October when he announced the availability of AutoPilot.

During the announcement, Musk said he wasn’t a fan of using LiDAR in the automotive space. LiDAR is mashup of Laser Imaging Radar, and it refers to a hardware and software component that tracks, measures, identifies, and classifies objects, and makes a decision on what next to do. Although Musk said he uses them at SpaceX, he believes that autonomous cars can be achieved using 360-degree cameras and radars, even in rain and snow.

That’s fine for highways where you won’t encounter humans or animals, says Eldada, but the moment you have autonomous vehicles in a pedestrian environment, you will hit 1 out of 100 people.

“You need 99 followed by 10 9s before that risk is acceptable,” he explains.

Most experts agree that LiDAR is needed, and if there is an argument against using this technology, it’s likely because of its cost. The units currently used by concept autonomous vehicles run in the thousands of dollars, which is a non-starter in the world of vehicle manufacturing. Cameras, on the other hand, cost pennies at volume. That will change with the onset of Quanergy’s solid state LiDAR, which Eldada keeps under wraps in a black cloth bag about the size of a point-and-shoot camera. Its next-generation system will be the key to unlocking true self-driving capabilities for vehicles because it has no moving parts, which means it won’t break. This level of reliability is essential for autonomously driven vehicles because it’s a mission critical component, and it also increases accuracy and reduces accidents. But even it’s the missing link for autonomous drive, it’s not enough to be unbreakable—it has to be cheap.

Quanergy’s solid state LiDAR will retail to manufacturers for $250, and will cost about half that amount to manufacture. Eldada said this price point has been validated by Delphi, which participated in the $44.5 million Series A financing round. The company has partnered with Flextronics in Milpitas, Calif. to manufacture this component, which will begin in Q3 of 2016, and the laser company is in six non-exclusive partner agreements with suppliers who will bring this to market, although he shared that he is closest with Delphi.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based start-up is working with several manufacturers, and Eldada says with an air of certainty that consumers will see production autonomous vehicles on the road in 2019.

“Autonomous vehicles that are safe, well-tested, and delivered by reputable companies will launch in 2019 under a 2020 model year,” he said.

Lending credence to his prediction, his manufacturing forecasts expects 100,000 vehicles globally to be equipped with his LiDARs in 2019, each requiring two units. However, “more aggressive” manufacturers will begin using his LiDARs in Q4 2016. For confidentiality reasons, he could not say on which manufacturer or vehicles, but he shared that next year Quanergy’s solid-state LiDAR will be unveiled on three concept vehicles at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show: two Mercedes-Benz GLE450 vehicles shown by Quanergy and Nvidia, and a Volvo XC90 shown by Delphi.

The November 20, 2015 Forbes article by Liane Yvkoff can be found here:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lianeyvkoff/2015/11/20/quanergy-expect-truly-autonomous-vehicles-in-2019-as-2020-model-year/

Quanergy CEO Louay Eldada speaking at a press conference at the 2015 Connected Car Expo, Los Angeles Auto Show.
Quanergy CEO Louay Eldada speaking at the 2015 Connected Car Expo. The road to autonomous cars, is paved with sensors, radars, cameras, and most importantly, LiDar. “You cannot build autonomous cars without LiDar, and anyone who thinks differently, please challenge me.” This statement about laser radar systems was made by Louay Eldada, CEO [...]
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Cool self-driving car interface concept

I'm fairly convinced that personally owned vehicles will always have a manual control interface. This is a really cool concept that completely hides it away unless it is needed.
Well, I’m not sure I’d call that unit a steering “wheel,” but Nissan does on their new autonomous driving concept, the IDS. If you’re going to ride around in a car that drives itself sometimes, I guess it had better be interesting, right?
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Some sort of manual interface is desirable, but if the future cars are to be driven by people without driver's licenses it's not something which will have to look anything like what we have today.
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This new model is super cool. Pencil accessory sold separately.
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Quanergy highlighted as innovative auto startup by Fortune
These companies may change how cars are built, bought, and driven.
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Nice summary of the +SpaceX​ accomplishment and its significance from +Yonatan Zunger​.
 
Huge kudos to +SpaceX for the successful launch and landing of a Falcon 9 rocket today. This is the first time anyone has ever flown a rocket to orbit and landed it upright. That's a big deal, because:

- Right now, rockets get dumped into the ocean or otherwise discarded after use, which is a big part of why flying to space is so expensive. It's like building a 747 and using it once.

- While people have flown to orbit and landed again (in the Space Shuttle), that required the use of a winged lifting body, which is enormously more complicated and expensive than a simple rocket. Also, the Shuttle required a big external tank and two booster rockets – which got jettisoned.

- While people have launched rockets and landed them vertically before (Blue Origin, just a few months ago), those rockets weren't capable of going into orbit. And going to orbit is a big difference from going into space: space isn't very far away at all, you just need to go about 60 miles straight up. Orbit isn't high, it's fast: orbit basically means that you're going fast enough that you keep falling towards the Earth and missing. Getting to that speed is a lot harder than just going up and falling down again.

- While people have tried to launch non-winged rockets into orbit and land them again (SpaceX, twice in the past year or so), it hasn't worked, because you're basically trying to land a pencil on its tip as it descends at a speed of a few thousand miles per hour. Previous attempts tried to land on boats (a pair of robot-controlled "autonomous spaceport drone ships" named the Just Read the Instructions and the Of Course I Still Love You), and the reason for the failures can be summarized as "now try to do that in high seas." This time, they landed on solid ground, which isn't as good from an orbital trajectories perspective, but which has the advantage of not moving about underneath you. (Usually)

This was a full-scale mission: a Falcon 9 took off from Cape Canaveral carrying eleven communications satellites. The first stage separated from the upper part of the rocket and landed safely, while the upper stages deployed the satellites into orbit.

So that's a major success for one of the most exciting companies in space travel today, and something that's likely to seriously cut the price of space travel over the next few years.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed upright on solid ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida this evening, after traveling into space and back. It's the first time SpaceX has been able to gently...
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The Washington Post: The $75,000 problem for self-driving cars is going away https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/12/04/the-75000-problem-for-self-driving-cars-is-going-away/
Giving a car "eyes" once cost a fortune. Now it's affordable, a good sign for autonomous vehicles.
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Cool!!
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This is NOT how driverless cars see the world

I've seen many outlets picking up on the video in this article and saying it shows how driverless cars see the world. In a small way, this is true, because most driverless cars use lidar. However, the lidar data used by a driverless car looks very little like this. This data is an art project and shows how amazing lidar is for surveying but the collection techniques are very different. 

In particular, there is an empty swath in the middle of the road due to the way this data was collected which is obviously not a good idea for driverless cars. Additionally, driverless cars don't need to see what the tops of buildings look like so the height of data collected is generally much lower. 
Autonomous vehicles might remain an expensive novelty, or they might utterly transform society. Either way, they have much to teach us about how to look at the cities we live in.
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"Desktop laser cutter/engraver"

This looks pretty awesome but I still have a hard time spending that much money for something without knowing I would use it a lot.
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Doesn't fit one of my collections...have to share anyway.
 
It is hard to describe the full brilliance of this. We have a bunch of professional actors, each performing 15 seconds' worth of pop songs as though it were Shakespeare. I can't describe this more; just watch. It's part of a fundraiser the Red Cross UK is doing for refugees.

#15secondshakespeare
Amanda Abbington and Jason Watkins are among the famous faces tweeting videos of themselves performing lyrics in the style of the Bard with the hashtag #15secondShakespeare
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A robot family reunion today
All manner of robots were assembled in Building 9 showing the development through the years of the humanoid robots and systems needed for human spaceflight that will eventually make a #journeytomars
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Education
  • Louisiana Tech University
    BS Mechanical Engineering, 1997 - 2001
  • University of Texas at Austin
    MS Mechanical Engineering, 2001 - 2004
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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  • Leo's Fortune
Story
Tagline
Roboticist and Computer Vision Engineer
Introduction
I'm a robotics engineer and a computer vision expert, an early adopter, and a technophile. These are the things I will post about most but I'll occasionally throw in some space stuff and other randomness.

I have two mechanical engineering degrees but I spend 95% of my time developing algorithms and software focusing on computer vision and robotics. I am also very interested in artificial intelligence but I'm still waiting for an opportunity to really delve into that field.
Bragging rights
I taught Robonaut how to move and took 3D pictures of the Space Shuttle in orbit.
Work
Occupation
Lidar, Computer Vision, and Robotics
Skills
Senior engineer with extensive experience solving complex problems in robotic control and 3D computer vision. Proficient in C++ development including object oriented programming, template programming, and code optimization. Thrive in a team environment and in customer facing roles.
Employment
  • Quanergy
    Principal Engineer, 2014 - present
    Working with Quanergy's Lidar sensors to develop smart sensing solutions for real-time 3D mapping and object detection, tracking, and classification. These technologies enable next generation driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles.
  • Aerodyne Industries
    Robotics Engineer, 2012 - 2014
    - Developed algorithms for planning, control, testing, and operation of NASA’s second generation Robonaut humanoid robot. - Focused on the mid-level control framework including kinematics, dynamics, and trajectory planning as well as the high-level application development. - Developed with C++, Python, ROS, and OROCOS. - Developed a collection of tools to convert natural language project requirements into formal logic and verify the controller design. - Developed a model definition schema, data structure, and parser that allows easy access to important model parameters by the various parts of the software.
  • Neptec USA
    R&D Engineer, 2004 - 2012
    Managed small teams conducting 3D machine vision research, algorithm development, and software development for space, defense, and commercial applications. Projects included 3D vision system processing for navigation and surface inspection for a lunar prospecting rover. Developed algorithms and software for 3D machine vision data processing for space, defense, and commercial applications. Projects included ground and aerial LIDAR processing for object recognition and aerial LIDAR processing for removal of all non-ground points.
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Currently
Houston, TX
Previously
Austin, TX - Ruston, LA - Shreveport, LA - Oak Ridge, TN