While having a conversation about politics, a friend of mine noted “Contrary to popular belief, politicians are’t dumb. They are just really good at counting votes”. After that, whenever I considered a group of individuals taking decision I would not consider smart, I knew that I had to dig deeper to know their incentives clearly.

Almost all through my time at Starsky, I was dumfounded by how difficult it was for us to raise money when I considered our approach as one of, if not, the most practical approaches to get driverless technology to market. I am sure multiple founders…


By Kartik Tiwari

For the last four years, I have been leading the work to make the dream of driverless technology a reality at Starsky. In this blog post, I have tried to condense my learnings about autonomous vehicles, the industry, and its biggest blindspot : Safety.

It has been more than a decade since the DARPA Grand Challenges kickstarted the self-driving industry. Back then, experts thought autonomy was right around the corner. Today, if anything, we’re less optimistic about the deployment timeline. Commercial deployment of full autonomy seems as far off as it’s ever been.

An obvious question that…


Testing against one’s own assumptions creates security theater.

No one wants to be hurt because they’re inadvertently driving next to an unproven self-driving vehicle. However, the costs of validating self-driving vehicles on real roads are extraordinary. To mitigate this, most autonomous developers test their systems in simulation, that is, in virtual environments. Starsky uses limited low-fidelity simulation to gauge the effects of certain system inputs on truck behavior. Simulation helps us to learn the proper force an actuator should exert on a steering mechanism, to achieve a turn of the desired radius. The technique also helps us to model the correct amount of throttle pressure to achieve a…


If you’re an engineer in the self-driving space, you frequently get asked variations of the same question. “Why is it taking so long?” one might say. “Wasn’t I supposed to be able to take a ride in a robo-taxi by now?

I get it. Last year, Waymo’s vehicles hit ten million autonomously driven miles. Tesla’s Autopilot passed a billion miles of activated travel. So what’s the delay in rolling robo-taxis out to the public, in cities across the country?

I’ll get to what I think is going on in a moment. But first I should clarify something. The big-name autonomous…


If you’re an engineer in the self-driving space, you frequently get asked variations of the same question. “Why is it taking so long?” one might say. “Wasn’t I supposed to be able to take a ride in a robo-taxi by now?

I get it. Last year, Waymo’s vehicles hit ten million autonomously driven miles. Tesla’s Autopilot passed a billion miles of activated travel. So what’s the delay in rolling robo-taxis out to the public, in cities across the country?

I’ll get to what I think is going on in a moment. But first I should clarify something. The big-name autonomous…


We’re hyper-focused on automating a highly constrained use case: the operation of rigs on highways. For the tricky parts we rely on tele-operation by human drivers.

The original article was published in IEEE Spectrum

Starsky Robotics driverless truck

Last year a partner at a well-known Silicon Valley venture firm wouldn’t take a meeting with us because our autonomous system didn’t employ a LIDAR. According to him, we should use all the sensors available to us to ensure safety.

I disagree.

However, the issue keeps coming up. Why don’t you use LIDAR, people ask. With this blog I’m going to sketch out Starsky’s approach, and…

Kartik Tiwari

Co-founder and CTO at Starsky Robotics

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