b'146FLAGGINGthe FLEETBuilding out new platforms to prepare for future partnerships.For the better part of 2020,Scott Plant heldFor Kositsky, whose product team began working out the future of Argo AI in his handsliterally. As director ofthe kinks on AV Ranger in late 2019, the beauty of the engineering at Argo, Plant was the guiding force behind asystem is the control it off ers to both operator and user. powerful new platform, known internally as Overwatch,With the power of Overwatch, Argo can determine vehi-that is tightly integrated with the Argo self-driving systemcle locations, allowing operators to pre-position vehicles (SDS). The platform contains a host of tools that collec- in locations where higher demand is anticipated. (Tra-tively act as a testbed for future integrations of Argosditionalride-hailingcompaniescanincentivizedrivers SDS into its partners goods- and people-moving services.to deploy in a specifi c area, but they cant dictate where One of these tools is AV Ranger, an app that will allowdrivers go.) Argo employeesand eventually the publicto summonSo how does Argo see these tools working in the wild? self-driving vehicles within the companys test cities.Whathappens,forinstance,whentwostrangersare Similar to how Argo refi nes its SDS through complexstanding near one another on a street corner, each wait-interactions in its test cities, the tools built into Over- ing for their autonomous ride-hail to arrive? How might watch enable Argo to test its fl eet in a product-intentthe SDS and Overwatch platformreduce confusion at the manner. With each interaction, the Argo SDS can learnairport pickup area? Kositsky references some existing to master the variety of challenging scenarios it will en- features, like a snap-to-pickup tool, which notifi es users counter in future ride-hail and goods-moving services. that a vehicle plans to pick them up at a slightly diff er-As such, Argo is putting Overwatch and the AV Rangerent spot, whether two doors down or across the street. app through the testing gauntlet. Using a 10,000-vehi- Theres also a pilot in the works that utilizes QR codes cle phantom fl eet, Plants team has created scaled-outmounted on the side of the vehicle, with users prompted simulations that are crucial for anticipating and avoidingto scan the codes to ensure theyre grabbing the correct future hiccups. If you dont build the SDS and supportride. (In this way, the service would operate more like digital infrastructure the right way from the beginning,an orderly taxi stand at the airport then like the current says Plant, then when you get to the point where youmosh pit at ride-hail pickup zones.)have hundreds of simultaneous requests, it can throw aIn all six test cities in the United States where Argo poorly designed system into chaos.operates, app users may receive push notifi cations alert-Theteamalsoconductsregularon-roadtestingtoing them to the vehicles pickup location and arrival time, mimic a ride-hail service. These integration events testand can even press a departure confi rmation button how the SDS handles predetermined queuing locations,when theyre ready to hop aboard. Once inside the vehi-pickups, and drop-off s. This helps the team understandcle, the SDS will wait until the passengers door is closed The AV Ranger app is athe features that may matter to future partners and fur- and seatbelt is clicked before it will pull away. Until the testbed for off ering the Argo self-driving system as ather enhance the passenger experience. The app also of- service becomes fully driverless, this interaction will be product.fers experiential control: every vehicle is identical, everyhandled by a test specialist in the copilot seat, with their ride consistent, and every rider interaction optimized forlaptop running the dispatch platform. Customers can of-safety and efficiency. Then there are what Head of Prod- fer instant feedback, whether rating their ride experienc-uct Israel Kositsky labels surprise and delight features,es or providing in-app comments. And then there are the including the ability for a rider to custom-set a preciselessons that come from the intricate dance of customer pickup location, or the placement of QR codes that allowpickups and drop-off s, with the vehicle getting smarter the vehicle to quickly and reliably authenticate the riderwith each completed ride. Its just one more thing you (and vice versa). wont fi nd with your average ride-hail.FullBook_Mar24.indb 146 4/25/21 6:45 PM'