VP of Autonomy @ Skydio
I’m a roboticist living in San Francisco. I lead the autonomy group at Skydio, where we build the best drones in the world for inspection, mapping, and situational awareness. Our team holds the state of the art in complex autonomous flight.
I was born in Yerevan, Armenia and grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska playing with moose. I did my undergraduate study at Princeton University and graduate study at Stanford University. In my free time I enjoy playing guitar and drums, traveling, windsurfing, and playing soccer. I also love chess, especially the bughouse variant.
My technical interests are in computer vision, deep learning, nonlinear optimization, and symbolic computation. I also enjoy building interactive visualizations and AI-generated music. In the past I’ve worked on hexapedal robots, robot arms, micro-robot factories, solar panel farms, and self-balancing motorcycles.
I’ve worked at Skydio since April 2015 and was one of its first employees. I have worked as an engineer on all of our core autonomy systems, and now focus on technical management of about 50 world-class engineers and researchers. Our charter is to develop robust algorithmic approaches to visual autonomy, to enable widespread impact of drones as trustworthy and intelligent tools. We strive for a creative and collaborative environment, where we move from research to product in a rapid iteration cycle.
I am the initial creator of SymForce, a library for fast symbolic computation, code generation, and nonlinear optimization in robotics and related domains. Symbolic computation has been a passion of mine for 15 years and I believe it’s a powerful and underused model in many scientific fields. SymForce powers many of our algorithms at Skydio and I’m grateful to be able to release it the community.
2022.11 : Featured Article by Abe Peck @ Inside Unmanned Systems 2022.11 : Seminar on Autonomy @ USC ECE (thanks Somil!) 2022.10 : Trusted Autonomy Briefing @ Pentagon (my first visit!) 2022.08 : SymForce Lunch + Learn @ Joby 2022.07 : Oral, RSS @ Columbia 2022.06 : Keynote, ICUAS @ Dubrovnik 2022.04 : First Skydio hackathon! 2022.04 : SymForce was accepted to RSS 2022! 2022.01 : Skydio KeyFrame is launched to all customers. 2022.01 : Skydio 2+ launches with increased battery life and range. 2021.12 : Guest Lecture, 16.485 - Visual Navigation (Luca Carlone) @ MIT 2021.10 : Info Session, Indy Autonomous Challenge @ MIT + Pitt 2021.06 : Workshop on Perception and Action in Dynamic Environments Workshop @ ICRA 2021 2021.06 : Workshop on Aerial Robotics @ ICRA 2021 2021.06 : Skydio 3D Scan is released! Watch the hype video and keynote, and check out some 3D models. 2021.02 : Seminar for Robotics Today @ MIT 2021.02 : Seminar for SCIEN @ Stanford 2021.03 : Talk @ Ai4 Technical Summit 2021.01 : Talk @ AI Accelerator Festival 2020:07 : Skydio officially publishes Responsible Use Principles for ethical conduct. 2020.06 : Presentation on DESI Grant @ AFORC 2019.11 : Thanks to Vladimir Nekrasov for a fantastic internship improving our obstacle avoidance system. 2018.11 : Guest Lecture, 16.485 - Visual Navigation (Luca Carlone) @ MIT 2018.11 : Guest Lecture, CS 287 - Advanced Robotics (Pieter Abbeel @ Berkeley) 2019.11 : PNT Symposium 2019 @ Stanford 2019.10 : Skydio 2 launches to the world, sells out in 48 hours! 2019.10 : SF Drones Meetup @ Bolt SF 2019.06 : Embedded Vision Workshop @ CVPR 2019 2019.05 : Cheers to Greg Kahn for a great research internship! 2019.04 : Skydio autonomy invited to workshops @ ICRA (1, 2), RSS, and CVPR 2019.03 : Robotics Showcase @ Bloomberg SF 2018.12 : Guest Lecture, 16.S398 - Visual Navigation (Luca Carlone) @ MIT 2018.11 : Guest Lecture, AA 248E - Aerial Robotics (David Lentink) @ Stanford 2018.10 : R1 lands in Apple retail stores and Amazon! 2018.09 : Skydio announces SDK to build apps for flying cameras 2018.08 : LentinkLab + BDML + Skydio awarded DESI basic research grant 2018.08 : Guest Lecture, AE 483 - Navigation and Control (Grace Gao) @ UIUC 2018.08 : We had seven great autonomy interns this summer. Special shout out to the talented Somil Bansal. 2018.03 : AI Workshop @ NYCDFF 2018.03 : ZEDtalk @ Zoox 2018.03 : Speaker @ Society of Artificers 2018.02 : Skydio R1 launches as the first fully autonomous drone! 2017.12 : Tech Talk, SUAVE @ Stanford 2017.11 : GRASP Special Seminar @ UPenn 2017.11 : Robotics Seminar @ Princeton 2017.07 : Our deep stereo paper is a Spotlight Oral @ ICCV! Thanks to Alex Kendall for his awesome work. 2017.06 : Skydio Research Deep Dive @ CVPR 2017 2015.03 : Stanford -> Skydio
Sweet Thursday - John Steinbeck A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms - George R. R. Martin The Creative Act - Rick Rubin Cannery Row - John Steinbeck A Very Punchable Face - Colin Jost Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke The Door Into Summer - Robert A. Heinlein A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson Words of Radiance - Brandon Sanderson Oathbringer - Brandon Sanderson Rhythm of War - Brandon Sanderson Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu Death’s End - Cixin Liu Tortilla Flat - John Steinbeck Moby Dick - Herman Melville East of Eden - John Steinbeck A Guide to the Good Life - William B. Irvine Life 3.0 - Max Tegmark The Alchemist -Paulo Coelho Nonviolent Communication - Marshall Rosenberg Projections - Karl Deisseroth Termination Shock - Neal Stephenson The Slow Regard of Silent Things - Patrick Rothfuss Revelation - Russel Brand Rogues - Neil Gaiman Deep Work - Cal Newport The Murmur of Bees - Sofia Segovia Death by Meeting - Patrick Lencioni Radical Candor - Kim Scott The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami The Manager’s Path - Camille Fournier The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni Less - Andrew Sean Greer Tools and Weapons - Brad Smith Mythos - Stephen Fry The Innovator’s Dilemma - Clayton M. Christensen Trillion Dollar Coach - Erich Schmidt An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth - Chris Hadfield Tomorrow, When the War Began - John Marsden What You Do Is Who You Are - Ben Horowitz Crossing the Chasm - Geoffrey A. Moore Surely, You’re Joking Mr. Feynman! - Richard P. Feynman The Master Switch - Tim Wu Conviction - Denise Mina City of Thieves - David Benioff Permanent Record - Edward Snowden Last and First Men - Olaf Stapledon Talking to Strangers - Malcolm Gladwell Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World - Jack Weatherford Meditations - Marcus Aurelius City of Girls - Elizabeth Gilbert A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess I Can’t Make This Up - Kevin Hart Billion Dollar Whale - Bradley Hope Understanding Power - Noam Chomsky Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel Man’s Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl Replay - Ken Grimwood Elon Musk - Ashlee Vance Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss The Wise Man’s Fear - Patrick Rothfuss The Reckoning - John Grisham Dodge & Twist - Tony Lee Bad Blood - John Carreyrou Disrupted - Dan Lyons The Elephant in the Brain - Kevin Simler The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson Never Split the Difference - Chris Voss Zero to One - Peter Thiel The Dark Tower Series - Stephen King Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
These are the places I’ve lived in red, visited in blue, and my top wishlist in black.