Announcing Scotty Labs and our partnership with Voyage

A little more than a year ago, we founded Scotty Labs (www.scotty.ai) to solve what we saw as one of the biggest problems facing the autonomous vehicle industry: — “How do we go from where we are today to a fully autonomous future?” Since then, a lot has changed in the autonomous driving ecosystem and it is clear that we need to be more thoughtful about how we deploy these systems. Today, we are giving a sneak peek into what we have been working on.

Scotty is a progressive autonomy company focused on accelerating the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles. While a host of new autonomous vehicles — including cars, trucks, delivery robots, and VTOLs (vertical take-off and landing aircrafts) are becoming more mainstream and being deployed, they will all need to operate in increasingly complex environments and, quite frankly, they just will not be able to do this safely and efficiently 100% of the time for a good number of years.

Usman and I founded Scotty on the belief that human intelligence is critical to solving the autonomous driving problem. The company exists to answer the fundamental questions — what role do humans play in the future of robotics and automation, and how do we leverage human and machine intelligence to build a better future?

To that end, our first product is a tele-operations platform to enable humans to virtually control cars in a highly dynamic environment. We fundamentally believe that any platform in the AV sector needs multiple layers of redundancy to succeed and we provide that redundancy to companies building autonomous vehicles by giving them the ability to bring humans into the loop. This helps solve some of the hardest edge cases of driving, while allowing AV companies and their teams to focus on what they do best — building and improving their autonomous driving technology.

We have already signed on our first partner, Voyage, and we are excited to support their mission as they continue to deploy their autonomous fleets safely in more communities around the country. We decided to work with Voyage as a partner because we are excited by and fundamentally believe in the work they are doing. We believe it is critical to provide autonomy to the communities that need it the most. We also both share a belief that human intelligence will be needed to achieve level 4 autonomy, and we share a deep and uncompromising focus on safety above speed in the deployment of fully autonomous systems. We will continue to support Voyage in the coming months and years as they achieve their goal of building a level 4 autonomous fleet.

In order to make it all work, we have put together an amazing team of engineers and researchers who have previously worked at companies like SRI International, Cruise, Lucid Motors, and Siemens Research. Our advisory board includes Terry Fong (Chief Roboticist, NASA Ames), Tom Low (Director of Medical Systems and Telerobotics, SRI) and JJ Ford (early engineer and former staff engineer at Uber). We have just announced our $6M seed round led by Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI focused fund) with participation from Horizons Ventures and Hemi Ventures and includes an earlier financing with amazing investors like SRI International, Social+Capital, Neuron.vc, Gravity Ranch, Graph Ventures, David Sacks, Rob May, Pete Kazanjy, Immad Akhund, Evan Moore and more.

If you’re passionate about safety and autonomy, please visit https://www.scotty.ai/careers. We are hiring and would love to talk to you!