Featured, Meet The Team

Meet Joseph Smith – our Business Development Manager

By Sonya,

November 6th, 2018

Joseph Smith
Business Development Manager

Joe started his working life as the first StreetDrone employee back in 2016, joining straight from gaining his first class honours degree in Engineering Science. Since joining StreetDrone, Joe has taken on many roles as the company has grown, and is now Business Development Manager, on a mission to help organisations accelerate their research and development with the StreetDrone ONE.

 

 


What is your background previous to StreetDrone? 

Prior to joining StreetDrone, I received a first class honours degree in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford. I specialised in structural engineering, including the design of offshore deep water wind turbine foundations.  I left university knowing I wanted to use my technical ability in a much more person-facing role, having run a successful landscaping business in summer holidays!

What inspired you to start working at StreetDrone?

Following graduation, I wanted to apply my technical knowledge in a commercial role, as part of a cutting edge industry. Starting a search for jobs in Oxford, I stumbled across a great opportunity to join StreetDrone at start-up stage, and became the first full time employee back in 2016. I strongly believed in the founder’s goal to accelerate self-driving development, and saw a great opportunity to make an impact in a nascent industry.

Since joining, I have had a variety of roles and experiences, ranging from long nights of sanding the bodywork of the very first prototype, prior to its launch at GTC Europe in 2017, through to the commercial role I do today.

What learning will you take from your previous work into the future with StreetDrone?

I hope to use my technical skills to help people understand what we are trying to achieve, making the technology as accessible as possible.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I love explaining our unique viewpoint on the industry, and what we have achieved as a company. To get 10 cars out into the world and have them being used by our customers to develop cutting edge tech is a great achievement.

Where do you see the autonomous vehicle market in 3 years and where do you think StreetDrone will fit?

In 3 years, contrary to popular belief, I believe the only deployments of self-driving vehicles will be as part of fleets, not privately owned Teslas. This won’t only be the likes of Uber, who have been in the press a lot, but also the companies who run the buses that ferry you between the airport departure gate and your plane – the more controlled an environment, the quicker you are likely to see AVs!

StreetDrone can be a great enabler here, helping to provide vehicle manufacturers with autonomous-ready vehicles (think trucks, tractors, buses, dump trucks as well as cars!) through its data platform Xenos. We are having lots of conversations in a variety of industries, and I believe we can help spillover of tech developments of knowledge from one to another

What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now, and how are you making it happen?

Helping other organisations accelerate their research and development, and validation cycles (e.g. see Wayve.AI video) with the StreetDrone ONE vehicle. Day to day, I help consult with customers to understand their requirements, and help organise delivery of open interface research vehicles that will help them build/test their tech faster.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

For me, the team is key. A good team will build a great product, and I believe that has been the major factor in our success so far. With a team of like-minded, ambitious, dynamic engineers and commercial people, we have shaped ourselves to a growing market gap: a lack of connection between vehicles and self-driving applications. The team has displayed real determination in building a product that fits our customer’s research, development and deployment needs, and I think we would make a great race team (a la Mark Preston’s DS Techeetah) if we weren’t all working with AVs.

We now have our open interface vehicles as far as Hong Kong (with HKPC) and I look forward to shipping to Australia in the coming weeks!

Outside of the world of Autonomous Vehicles, what else do you like to do with your time?

Dig holes on the golf course(!), and get out on my bike (be it the electric cycle commute or the gravelly mountain bike track)!

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