b'41A decade after that first foray into the Australian des-ert, Wesley became the Vice President of Systems Engi-neering, Integration, and Test at Argo AI. Its not his first stint in the self-driving car space, having worked at an-other autonomous vehicle company for three years, but in Argo, Wesley saw a laser-focused company with a goal to make self-driving vehicle technology available at scale.WesleyjoinedArgoasthefirstemployeeinPalo Alto. During his first three years, he oversaw the hard-ware teams responsible for building what he calls the eyes and the brain of the self-driving systemthe lidar and radar systems, the sensors and computers, and the cameras that capture images of the environment around the car in order to identify surrounding objects. Now he Back in 2011,standing in the middle of the Aus- is responsible for uniting Argo hardware and software tralian Outback, Wesley Ford couldnt have known howdevelopment.much a single rainstorm would change his life. As a juniorAt the end of the day, Wesley focuses not on being the at Stanford University, Wesley had traveled to Austra- first, but being the best. He knows that the real reward of lia for the World Solar Challenge, aiming to build a so- his work wont be a front-page feature or a place in a mu-lar-powered car from scratch to race 2,000 miles acrossseum. It will be about transforming cities and improving the continent. Wesleys team built a sleek, one-personlives across the world.vehicle fitted with an ultra-thin glass-encapsulated solarAs for his teams failure in Australia, that wasnt the panel, a flexible aerobody, and all-wheel steering to mit- end of the story. Over the next two years, Wesley and his igate crosswinds. The car attracted media attention andteam went back to the drawing board. They designed a car high expectations, sending the team swaggering into thethat was more humble and less flashy, reprioritizing exe-competition. cution, reliability, refinement, and practice. They tested, A few miles in, a tire went flat. Next went the mo- retested, and retested yet again. And with Wesley as the tor, which tore itself apart almost as soon as the car wasteam leader in 2013, they were the top American team in back on the road. And finally came that fateful storm,the race. Not even a rainstorm could stop them.which caused electrical shorts that ended the cars race just two checkpoints away from the finish line. That was a pivotal moment for me, says Wesley today. I never wanted to fail again based on mistakes that could have been prevented.THE FUTURISTFullBook_Mar24.indb 41 4/25/21 6:42 PM'