It's been nearly a decade since I was pitching the AUVSI leadership for their CEO search. I barely understood the potential for automated and connected vehicles then, but AUVSI's leaders had obvious passion for future advances. At that time, drones were only owned by the military, Tesla's Model S was still on the drawing board, and the myriad commercial applications were pipedreams.
As VCs start investing, there are huge challenges ahead: pressure for capital-intensive investments to become commodities if they are to scale and change consumer behavior; the "creepy factor" of connected devices and automation for those concerned with hackers, privacy, and government intrusion; and policy and regulatory hurdles, especially in regard to liability. The next 10 years will be wonderful, but leaders will need to be open-eyed about the challenges ahead.
Kleiner Perkins, Google X Executives to Speak at AUVSI’s Startup Connection in San Francisco, July 18 ARLINGTON, Va. — Executives from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google X’s Project Wing will speak at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Startup Connection on Monday, July 18 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel. Mike Abbott, general partner at KPCB, will lead a “Keynote Fireside Chat” to start the conference... Dave Vos, the head of Project Wing at Google X, will discuss “Navigating the Startup Landscape.” AUVSI’s Startup Connection will also include an “Investor Insights Panel” moderated by Derek Kerton, founder and principal analyst at the Kerton Group.