“In a big tech company, you tend to have all the trade-offs swayed toward the side of function over everything else,” he says. “Can we get the software engineers as much power as possible?
“Well, it’s never enough. They always want more. To be part of a vehicle program you’re forced to look at the realities of not just performance at all costs, you are forced to look at affordability, durability, reliability and so on.”
Salesky’s career began working on Carnegie Mellon University’s entry in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge and was he technical project manager at Google’s self-driving car program. But while at Caterpillar he helped create autonomous drive systems for giant dump trucks working in mines, preparing him for the kind of collaboration that the Ford partnership requires.