Intel Innovator: Patti Robb, Chief Strategist at Intel’s Silicon Valley Innovation Center and Autonomous Vehicle Labs
How she’d describe her work to a 10-year-old: “I am the leader of the garages where Intel and its partners are developing cars that drive themselves.”
Where the autonomous rubber meets the road: “I’m leading an engineering team to develop innovative technology and build out our test fleet of 100 autonomous cars,” Patti says. Last summer, Intel and Mobileye revealed plans to roll out a fleet of Level 4 vehicles for testing in the United States, Israel and Europe. In addition to equipping the vehicles with intel and Mobileye systems, her team builds data centers to help process and make sense of all the data generated in developing autonomous driving.
“To put it all together, building the fleet allows for accelerated development and testing in a variety of real world conditions and gives us the opportunity to see how people interact with autonomous vehicles,” Patti adds. “It’s really a fascinating space, there is always a new challenge and I love coming to work every day.”
What drives Patti: “I’m a curious person by nature. I’m challenge-driven and I really love innovation,” she says, adding that she inherited her inquisitive nature from her mother. “My mom grew up without electricity or running water in a very rural area in Wisconsin. In her early childhood, believe it or not, she got around in a sleigh.
“It is analogous to the transformation that we’re going through.”
What Patti drives — today: An Infiniti G37 convertible. “I love it,” Patti admits, adding, “I’ll use autonomous ride-sharing and be one of the first to get an autonomous car, but I’ll probably still keep that car.”
A deeply personal connection: Patti’s brother died in late 2016 from injuries sustained in an automobile collision. An oncoming car making a left turn unexpectedly crossed the centerline. “He was a great father, brother and veteran who spent a lot of his time volunteering to help other veterans every week,” Patti says. “He used to call me every day; I miss talking to him.”
A passion for preventing accidents and saving lives: Many newer vehicles today are equipped with lane-keeping features based on driver-assist technologies from Mobileye, an Intel company. “Additionally, camera lane-mapping and low-placed redundant sensors would have prevented this accident. I’m really excited to be getting this technology out there in more cars,” Patti says. “If that car had stayed in its lane, my brother would still be here today.”