Recap: Sofman has spent the last 15 years working on robotics but it was autonomous driving that first sparked his attraction to the field. In fact, it was the subject of his thesis at Carnegie Mellon.
Alphabet subsidiary Waymo on Thursday welcomed more than a dozen former Anki employees to its team. The startup’s core technical staff, including co-founder and CEO Boris Sofman, will work on Waymo’s self-driving trucking project according to a tweet from Waymo chief John Krafcik and a LinkedIn post from Sofman.
Robotics maker Anki was known for its AI-powered toys including the Anki Drive racing game and standalone robot Cozmo. A failed round of funding from a strategic investor at the 11th hour led to the firm’s sudden shutdown last month and Silicon Valley has been scooping up the displaced talent ever since.
Axios reported in mid-May that sound hardware company Sonos had hired at least 20 technical staffers from Anki’s engineering department.
Axios was also the first to report the Waymo hirings which were later confirmed by Krafcik. The publication said 13 robotics experts were hired in total to work on the self-driving trucks.
Sofman in his LinkedIn post said he and his former staff will be based out of Waymo’s San Francisco offices. “I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we look forward to working with and learning from the exceptional team at Waymo as we pursue the mission of bringing self-driving cars (and trucks!) to the world,” he added.