Published : Monday, November 19, 2018 | 5:38 PM
Franchitti follows current Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team principal Allan McNish who signed on to the board last week.
A statement by Coast Autonomous said McNish and Franchitti will provide valuable input for the company’s robotics and artificial intelligence algorithms, which they expect should result in a more intelligent system with better safety and a smoother ride.
“Simply sitting in a car with Dario or Allan at the wheel is akin to taking a master class in driving,” David M. Hickey, Coast Autonomous Chairman and CEO, said. “From start to finish, the way they drive is completely different from how an average person drives. They are completely aware of everything around them and anticipate every movement and trajectory of surrounding vehicles and pedestrians. They are basically performing advanced risk analysis and management instantaneously in a very disciplined and systematic manner.”
Coast Autonomous aims to deploy their first autonomous vehicle fleets in 2019 in low-speed environments, including university and college campuses, airports, resorts, theme parks and city centers. They will be tapping into McNish’s and Franchitti’s years of experience performing at a top level of motor sports, their team-building and organization skills and ready access to auto industry suppliers and senior executives across the corporate landscape.
Franchitti, who was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal by the Duke of Cambridge in 2014 for services to motor racing, has claimed the IndyCar Series title four times – in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 – and the Indianapolis 500 on three occasions – 2007, 2010 and 2012.
McNish won the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship, and has been victorious at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998, 2008 and 2013.
“Allan and Dario also know better than anyone what it takes to win,” Hickey continued. “As success breeds success, we are incredibly fortunate to have their insight and guidance as we build a team to compete for victory at low speed.”
Franchitti said he is eager to put his knowledge and skills to work with Coast’s world-class team.
“Winning the big races involves mastering the environment, attention to detail, ongoing and active risk assessment, and a constant effort to improve,” he said. “Above all else, safety is paramount. Coast shares this same winning philosophy.”
Also on the company’s Advisory Board are Professor Dr. Marco Pavone of Stanford University, one of the world’s leading experts in robot autonomy and the Director of Stanford’s Autonomous Systems Laboratory; and Rick Baker, former mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida.
To learn more about the company, visit www.coastautonomous.com.