This story is a part of “We Are Argo,” an ongoing series featuring unique stories and diverse experiences from Argo AI employees. Read more about “We Are Argo” and meet additional members of the Argo team here.
Growing up, Manan loved working on cars. “If my dad had a friend who owned a workshop or worked as a salesperson at a car company, I’d go and talk to them for hours and hours,” he says.
His passion for transportation was further shaped in every corner of the globe. He was born in Mumbai, India, but raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He credits his time in both mega-cities as fundamental to his understanding of transit needs across the world. He saw roads with no lane dividers, traffic in chaos, trains packed with hundreds of people. They were all images that would stay rooted in his mind as he moved forward in his career. He knew there must be a better way to get around.
When he was wrapping up his graduate studies at San Jose State University, he learned about an upcoming career fair where Argo AI would be recruiting. He was under an expedited timeline to find a job after graduation, and this would be the perfect opportunity to network. The only catch? The fair was the same day as his engagement party back in Mumbai.
But this wasn’t just any job. There were just a handful of companies that Manan believed had the potential to solve some of the transportation challenges he grew up witnessing. One of them was Argo AI.
So, with his fiancée’s blessing, he FaceTimed into his engagement party to attend the career fair. Two tech screens, five onsite interviews, and lunch with a hiring manager later, he landed his dream job on Argo’s embedded software team.
Now, two years into his job at Argo, Manan is relishing the opportunity to get to know a new country and its roads. Traveling to places like Michigan and New Jersey for work, he has been amazed at the United States’ sophisticated highway system that connects a country with endlessly changing landscapes and climates. But he’s also seen its problem areas, and is aware of the traffic accident statistics. That, along with the transportation successes and mishaps he’s seen across the world, is what inspires him to work on self-driving technology.
Manan remembers a lunch he shared with a professor at an Indian university he visited while working at a startup that made DIY robotics kits for educational institutions. The professor was still teaching into his 80s, and shared stories with Manan of watching technology shrink from huge room-sized computers to floppy disks to nanodevices. Manan envisions a life witnessing autonomous vehicles evolve on a parallel path. And he’s not just along for the ride, he’s in the driver’s seat.