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Building Amazon Astro: The First Multi-Purpose Home Robot

Posted Oct 24
# TransformX 2022
# Fireside Chat
# Computer Vision
# Robotics
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SPEAKERS
Dr. Kenneth E. Washington
Dr. Kenneth E. Washington
Dr. Kenneth E. Washington
VP Software Engineering, Consumer Robotics @ Amazon

Ken Washington (NAE) is vice president of software engineering at Amazon, where he leads a team of engineers developing consumer robot devices and services. Before joining Amazon, Dr. Washington was chief technology officer at Ford Motor Company, overseeing the development and implementation of the automaker’s technology strategy. His portfolio at Ford included propulsion systems, sustainable and advanced materials, additive manufacturing, next- gen vehicle architectures, controls, and automated systems.

Prior to joining Ford in 2014, Dr. Washington was Lockheed Martin Corporation’s first chief privacy officer, vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center, and vice president and chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin IT. He previously served as the chief information officer for Sandia National Laboratories. In addition to his election to the NAE in 2020, he is the recipient of the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year Award in Research Leadership.

Dr. Washington has a BS, MS, and PhD in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M University and is a fellow of the MIT Seminar XXI program on International Relations.

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Ken Washington (NAE) is vice president of software engineering at Amazon, where he leads a team of engineers developing consumer robot devices and services. Before joining Amazon, Dr. Washington was chief technology officer at Ford Motor Company, overseeing the development and implementation of the automaker’s technology strategy. His portfolio at Ford included propulsion systems, sustainable and advanced materials, additive manufacturing, next- gen vehicle architectures, controls, and automated systems.

Prior to joining Ford in 2014, Dr. Washington was Lockheed Martin Corporation’s first chief privacy officer, vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center, and vice president and chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin IT. He previously served as the chief information officer for Sandia National Laboratories. In addition to his election to the NAE in 2020, he is the recipient of the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year Award in Research Leadership.

Dr. Washington has a BS, MS, and PhD in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M University and is a fellow of the MIT Seminar XXI program on International Relations.

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Vijay Karunamurthy
Vijay Karunamurthy
Vijay Karunamurthy
Head of Engineering @ Scale AI

Vijay Karunamurthy is currently Head of Engineering at Scale AI, where he is enabling Scale's mission to democratize AI to help business, governments and organizations see its full potential. Previously he was a Director of Engineering at Apple, where he worked on scalability, personalization and ML research for the App Store, TV+, Apple Watch and more. Prior to Apple, Vijay led Search and Discovery engineering teams at YouTube, and cofounded (with Steve Chen and Chad Hurley) startups focused on live video and content discovery (acquired by Apple and BlueJeans Network.)

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Vijay Karunamurthy is currently Head of Engineering at Scale AI, where he is enabling Scale's mission to democratize AI to help business, governments and organizations see its full potential. Previously he was a Director of Engineering at Apple, where he worked on scalability, personalization and ML research for the App Store, TV+, Apple Watch and more. Prior to Apple, Vijay led Search and Discovery engineering teams at YouTube, and cofounded (with Steve Chen and Chad Hurley) startups focused on live video and content discovery (acquired by Apple and BlueJeans Network.)

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SUMMARY

Over the past couple of years, the consumer robotic market has seen rapid adoption due to the pandemic and dropping prices, and the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of almost 31% through 2027. Last year, Amazon announced Astro, a new household robot for home monitoring that combined AI, computer vision, sensor technology, and voice and edge computing.

Astro brought new advances to the consumer robotic market around human-robot interaction and multimodal AI. In this fireside chat, Dr. Ken Washington, VP of Software Engineering for Consumer Robotics, will discuss scaling robotics at Amazon and new features in Astro that are novel in the areas of computer vision, perception training, and mapping. Dr. Washington is joined by Vijay Karunamurthy, Head of Engineering at Scale AI, to discuss the future of robotics at Amazon and the new AI technologies evolving with consumer robotics.

Before joining Amazon, Dr. Washington was CTO at Ford Motor Company, where his portfolio included propulsion systems, sustainable and advanced materials, additive manufacturing, next-gen vehicle architectures, controls, and automated systems. Dr. Washington also served as Lockheed Martin Corporation’s first chief privacy officer and as CIO for Sandia National Laboratories. In addition to his election to the NAE in 2020, he received the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year Award in Research Leadership.

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