The long road to autonomous vehicles is built on the backbone of mathematics. This Pi Day, John Rich, Chief Operating Officer, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC has written a post on Medium celebrating the influence his father had on him falling in love with math,
technology, and the pursuit of transportation solutions of the future.
Rich says that he sees Pi Day, “as an opportunity to appreciate the people who helped me understand and get excited about numbers and formulas.” He cites his father as his main source of inspiration saying that he “learned to appreciate the importance of mathematics from him.”
Rich goes on to describe how his father fanned the flames for his passion:
“My dad would take me to observatories and explain in incredible detail how telescopes worked, what we were looking at when we saw stars in the sky and how far away other planets were. Without realizing it, these conversations were capturing my imagination and steering me down a career path heavily reliant on math.”
Cars work because of math, Rich tells readers. It’s as simple as how a door opens and closes to as complex as inventing the next steps of automation on the path to self-driving cars. Programming the computers to analyze vehicle surroundings and make precise decisions requires complex algorithms, the products data injected by the cameras, LiDAR, and radar units on self-driving vehicles.
Rich urges readers to take a moment on Pi Day to, “think about and thank that person in your life who helped you understand algebra, translate trigonometry or decode calculus.”