b'46 I first got behind the wheelof a car in 1987. I was 16 years old, borrowing my friends Ford Mustang GT. Immediately, I felt the cathar- Someday, I want to be the first person to ride an sis of being freed from constraints that I didnt even realize were weigh- autonomous vehicle from one ing on me. I loved the potential to go anywhere I pleased.side of this country to the This sense of autonomy is why I got into car racing in the first place.otherthen drive in manual A car was always more a means to an end for me; it was an amplificationmode all the way home.of ambition that gave me the ability to do things beyond natural human boundaries. In 1908, before the advent of the privately owned car, most people rarely traveled more than a few miles from home. Cars, one of the most democratizing advancements since the printing press, opened up peoples worlds.In my life, that freedom has meant setting records speeding around cities and across the country. Its meant rallying in cars outfitted to re-semble foreign police vehicles. It has also meant becoming outspoken about keeping human drivers on the road, while also advocating for the highest safety standards possiblewhich is exactly where Argo AI comes in.When I sat down with Argo CEO Bryan Salesky a few years ago, IToday, when I think backto my Cannonball Run training with was immediately struck by the fact that he, too, was a car guy. He grew15 years hindsight, it makes perfect sense that I ended up working for up elbows-deep in engine grease, helping his dad tinker with their FordArgo AI. Everything that I was doing for badthe attention to detail F-150 in the garage. He later helped build a self-driving vehicle from theand safety, mapping of the environment, planning the minutiae of the ground up that won the DARPA Urban Challenge. So while he may beroute, using the most advanced sensing technologies on the market, and leading a company charged with bringing true autonomy to market, Imy commitment to getting it rightis what Argo does for good. Its knew he understood the unique joy of being behind the wheel. That waswhat sets the company apart in the field of autonomous driving, and its my first signal that Argo was doing things a little differently.why I was happy to retire from underground racing to join this team.And since the company was founded in 2016, Argo has done a lotWhat I sensed when I first met Bryan has remained true during my more to set itself apart from its competitors in the self-driving space. Intime at Argo. We both want to build a safer future in which autonomous so many crucial ways, Argo has demonstrated a realistic understandingvehicles are an option, understanding that those who love to drive will of what it will take to create fully autonomous vehiclesand how longcontinue to do so. By embracing a future where self-driving and human it will take to get there: driving coexist, Argo is positioned to win the hearts and minds of both drivers and passengers.Argo avoids hype. The wrong approach to building a self-drivingI have no doubt that autonomous vehicles will become ubiquitous technology company lies in prematurely and inaccurately mar- someday. Whether that day is 5, 10, or 100 years from now, I know that keting unproven innovations. This results in skepticism, disap- the only way to get there is not by rushing or by forcing human drivers pointment, and, in a worst-case scenario, accidents.to sacrifice their own freedom or choices. Autonomous vehicles will de-Argo has been realistic about timelines, honest about safety,velop through incremental progress and realistic expectations, through transparent in the public demonstrations of its technology, andmeticulous planning, technical mastery, and above all, a commitment to clear about what that technology will and wont do. safety. They will come through a realistic understanding of how much The company possesses the financing, partnerships, talent,work needs to be done to reach this goal and a willingness to take the patience, discipline, andin my opinionreasoned optimismtime to do things the right way. among management to execute. I want what any sane person should want. I want technology that Bryan and Argo AI co-founder Peter Rander have never triedenhances my life rather than restricts it. I want an end to sitting and suf-to sell a sci-fi future or shroud their technical capabilities infering in traffic. I want our cities to be more pedestrian-friendly. I want buzzwords. Argo AI isnt saying self-driving is around the cor- my daughter to have a drivers license someday, but I also want her to be ner, or that when it does arrive, humans will never drive again.able to ride her bicycle knowing shes not at risk. I want an autonomous They instead have a singular focus on building safe automatedvehicle to be safe, and I want to know what safe means before I get technology with real-world applications, around which profitableinor buy, or lease, or subscribe toa mobility platform.businesses can be built. In a sea of companies trying to win self-driving through empty promises and cutting corners, Argo AI is one of the few doing this work with a real focus on safety and responsibility. Real technology. Real in-vestors. Real partners. Real customers. Someday, I want to be the first person to ride an autonomous vehi-cle from one side of this country to the otherthen drive in manual mode all the way home. But I think thats going to take a little longer than the last time I drove cross country, as it should. As much as I love a good race, this isnt one. Argo will take as much time as necessary to get it right.FullBook_Mar24.indb 46 4/25/21 6:42 PM'