Lead Software Engineer
Antonis Skardasis is an experienced Control & Systems Engineer, with a history of working in autonomous vehicles and mobile robotics R&D projects in academia and industry, since 2008. He is now working as Lead Software Engineer at StreetDrone, looking at the software solutions and system architecture StreetDrone is now developing.
What is your background previous to StreetDrone?
Since I was young, I have always been fascinated by technology and science fiction books – such as those titles by Isaac Asimov – and movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey.
My studies led me to become an Automatic Control & Systems Engineer, focusing on Autonomous Vehicles and Mobile Robotics. I have covered the fields of Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Planning & Navigation and Real-Time Operating Systems. During my studies and early career, I participated in robotics competitions and R&D projects across academia and industry, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) with Cranfield University and the MoD, real-time communication systems for mobile robots in the Salford Autonomous Systems Research Centre, and lately driverless forklift trucks for the materials handling industry.
What inspired you to start StreetDrone?
I was excited by the fact that it is a fast-paced environment at StreetDrone. I really like that we have specialised teams, exclusively focused on autonomous vehicle technology with a unique connection to the F1 and FE racing markets, all of which make for an environment where I can use my skills to make a real difference.
What learning will you take from your previous work into the future with StreetDrone?
How to build up a project from scratch, to make the architecture of the system as well as to find the appropriate resources. In a fast evolving environment like the autonomous vehicle market, it is vital to keep your knowledge and your skills sharp.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My passion is to create machines with as human-like behaviour as possible, always keeping in mind the same principles and rules you would instil into your kids!
Where do you see the autonomous vehicle market in 3 years and where do you think StreetDrone will fit?
I believe that in three years, the ‘easy’ version of autonomy, like Level 3, will be widely on the streets. The large car manufacturers will be struggling to bring a complete product of Level 4 or Level 5 due to safety issues. I think that StreetDrone has the experience and the network of collaborators to help teams bring full autonomy to the streets, and therefore bring autonomous vehicles to the masses.
What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
One of the things that I am involved with this period is the software that’s used by universities and hobbyists, as those that are familiar with it will know that, unfortunately, it can’t be used directly by the industry due to differing requirements.
This gap in the market offers opportunities for StreetDrone, and this is what I am working on now – and will provide progress and more details as we move forward, so keep an eye out!
Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?
I think it is clear that without the right team you can’t go far – no matter what the product or the market is. That is why I value team dynamics, human qualitative characteristics and behaviour in the environment I choose to work in.
Outside of the world of Autonomous Vehicles, what else do you like to do with your time?
I love to socialise with my friends and love meeting new people. I also look to do activities like sailing, mountain biking, skiing and paintball whenever I get a chance – it’s great to be outside! Equally, I also love cooking for friends and being a bit of a part-time horticulturist, looking after my plants!
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