Tim Kentley-Klay: Self-Driving Cars for Everyone [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

May 17, 2017
Stanford eCorner
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Tim Kentley-Klay: Self-Driving Cars for Everyone [Entire Talk]

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In this video, the CEO and CTO of Zoox, Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson, discuss their journey in robotics and their vision for the future of autonomous vehicles. They discuss the challenges and opportunities in building a fully autonomous vehicle from the ground up, including the design considerations, business model, and potential risks. They also address the impact of autonomous vehicles on society, the environment, and the traditional car industry.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Tim Kentley-Klay's journey in robotics begin?

Tim Kentley-Klay's journey in robotics started in 2012 when he was inspired by Google's self-driving car program. He realized that AI and mobility could revolutionize transportation and create a new mobility age.

Q: What is Zoox's insight about AI mobility?

Zoox believes that AI mobility will take us from the age of the automobile into the next mobility age, which is robotics. They see the potential of bringing narrow AI to vehicles and taking the human out of the loop.

Q: How does Zoox envision the future of autonomous vehicles?

Zoox envisions a future where fully autonomous vehicles provide on-demand mobility services in cities. They aim to create a magical moment where a ground-up robot picks up a customer and takes them to their destination.

Q: How does Zoox design a product that doesn't compare to anything existing?

Zoox designs its autonomous vehicles from the ground up by removing traditional components like steering wheels, dashboards, windows, and mirrors. They optimize the architecture for machine vision and create a purpose-built product.

Q: What will the user experience be like with Zoox's autonomous vehicles?

The user experience is not revealed due to their stealth mode. However, they focus on creating a character for the vehicle and plan to use active LED illumination and other features to communicate with passengers.

Q: What are the trade-offs Zoox considers in developing autonomous vehicles?

Zoox considers various trade-offs, such as the technical challenges, market dynamics, and regulatory aspects of the technology. They aim to launch their fleet of autonomous vehicles by 2020.

Q: Is Zoox dependent on changes in infrastructure for their autonomous vehicles?

Zoox designs their autonomous vehicles to work in existing infrastructure without requiring significant changes. They have a purpose-built product that can operate in mixed-mode environments in cities.

Q: How does Zoox deal with risks and unknowns in their autonomous vehicle development?

Zoox focuses on bringing domain experts on board to address unknowns and mitigate risks. They value transparency and collaboration within the company and seek advice from experienced advisors and investors.

Q: What is Zoox's business model?

Zoox aims to create a fully autonomous mobility service, similar to Uber and Lyft, where customers can use their vehicles on-demand. They plan to own and operate the fleet instead of selling the vehicles to customers.

Q: Who are Zoox's biggest competitors?

Since Level 5 autonomous technology is not yet available in the market, it is difficult to pinpoint direct competitors. However, Zoox competes with companies working on autonomous vehicles and those developing disruptive transportation technologies.

Q: How does Zoox prevent accidents and deal with emotional factors?

Zoox's autonomous vehicles have advanced perception systems that can detect and react to the surrounding environment faster than humans. They have 360-degree sensing coverage and can make use of depth sensing technologies like radar and lidar. The technology is designed to minimize human errors and improve overall safety.


Zoox's vision for the future of autonomous vehicles is to provide on-demand, fully autonomous mobility services in cities. Their ground-up approach, holistic thinking, and emphasis on continuous improvement make them unique in the market. They focus on creating a product that is safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly. While there are risks and challenges associated with developing such a complex technology, Zoox's team, investors, and advisors are committed to building a constructive company that can disrupt the traditional car industry and create new opportunities.

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