Alex Roy & Bryan Salesky discuss why they’re launching a podcast into a sea of podcasts.

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Episode Transcript

Alex Roy
So, Bryan, if we were going to do a podcast what would you call it?

Bryan Salesky
You know…I would call it “a podcast.”

Alex Roy
That’s not a bad idea. Because, after a lot of thought and planning, our “team” thought we should call it the No Parking Podcast. Would you like me to read the description or would you like to try to explain what this podcast is about?

Bryan Salesky
Come on, you can do better than that. There must be like…a deep thought. I mean, I know you now pretty well Alex. You don’t make these suggestions lightly. That name, there must be something really deep behind it.

Alex Roy
So the description we’ve written goes like this. No Parking is a weekly podcast with zero-BS conversations about how technology will or won’t change our daily lives. With a rotating cast of the human beings building the future from transportation, government, science and entertainment. No Parking is Mythbusters meets Anthony Bourdain, hosted by roboticist Bryan Salesky and Cannonball Run racer and author, Alex Roy. Bryan, do you think that’s an accurate description of what this is going to be about?

Bryan Salesky
I think so. It sounds pretty good. Only time will tell, Alex.

Alex Roy
Well, let’s be clear, why are we launching this podcast at all?

Bryan Salesky
I think that there’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about AVs (autonomous vehicles) and we kind of want to cut out the BS and get down to the real story of how these things work. Get into some insights about how we build them and the people behind who build these vehicles and why we’re doing it.

Alex Roy
But is it just really about AVs?

Bryan Salesky
No, I mean it’s about also the communities we’re operating in and sort of what their needs and desires are. It’s about transportation. It’s about a broader system that connects these things together.

Alex Roy
So it sounds like you’re the “Mythbusters” half of this podcast.

Bryan Salesky
At times.

Alex Roy
All right. Well, I’m really thrilled to hear that. This podcast is about debunking myths about technology, wherever and whenever we find it, and telling the truth about how technology is gonna be deployed in the real world. Talking to real people. And no marketers, no press releases, no nonsense. Real language, the truth on the ground street-by-street. That’s what this podcast is about.

Bryan Salesky
That’s right.

Alex Roy
Why is it called No Parking?

Bryan Salesky
The podcast has nothing to do with really no parking science or the difficulties in parking. It has a lot to do with the frustrations behind transportation in cities today. It’s failing us and autonomous vehicles are but just a tool in an entire toolbox of things that need to come together that will fix the state of transportation in cities. And so No Parking is just sort of bringing out to bear the frustration that we all have and what some of the things are we can do about it.

Alex Roy
That’s interesting, because when I thought about why it’s called No Parking, it occurred to me that every year since the dawn of man people are increasingly urbanized. More people, more talented people, people are being drawn together wherever they live. And as that happens there’s less and less parking. So No Parking is actually a sign of progress. And where we failed is in coming up with solutions to that problem and that AVs are part of that.

Bryan Salesky
That’s very deep.

Alex Roy
Bryan, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself so the audience knows why you’re hosting this show with me?

Bryan Salesky
Sure. I’m CEO of a company called Argo, that builds self-driving cars.

Alex Roy
That’s amazing. Is there anything else about yourself you’d like to explain? Because there’s a lot of self-driving car companies out there and yet I feel like you’re a unique character in this space.

Bryan Salesky
We’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve worked with some really smart people who have worked together for many, many years, over a decade now. We started out doing this stuff because it was cool and it was a neat idea, but we weren’t quite sure how it was going to be used. That, sort of by its nature, research is that it’s a challenging computer science problem. It was a challenging artificial intelligence problem. We wanted to push the limits and see what was possible. And we’re blessed in that we’ve now found ourselves in a position where I think we have a real opportunity now to use what we’ve been working on for so long to actually completely change the very nature of transportation as we know it.

Alex Roy
That was an amazing explanation and not at all what I thought you were going to say. I’ll be really simple. I really love driving and I should not be sitting here with you because, in theory, you represent everything I disagree with and I’m opposed to. And yet you’re the only person I trust to develop and deploy self-driving cars anywhere in the world. Because you want me to have one more thing, one more way to get from A to B. And everyone else with the same title as you says the opposite. They don’t want me to be driving or even own a car.

Bryan Salesky
It’s true. I love to drive as well. And that freedom, that fundamental choice, get yourself where you want to go however you want to get there? Should not be taken away. Can’t be taken away. It would be detrimental if it was taken away. I don’t care if it’s a scooter or an e-bike, an autonomous vehicle, a bus, a train or your personal car. You should have that choice. You should do what works for you.

Alex Roy
So what kind of people are we going to have on this show in the future?

Bryan Salesky
Well, we’re going to interview folks that are sort of behind the scenes building autonomous technology. We’re gonna interview transportation researchers who have a lot to say about what utopia might look like. What would we do to fundamentally turn it on its head, how we think about transportation in the city and how can we make it better? We’re going to interview really interesting roboticists who have a lot of perspective from over many, many decades of building these types of things. We’re going to talk to people in the communities who are living in and amongst autonomous cars today and who have opinions about it and want to know more. And it should be really fun.

Alex Roy
I’m going to offer up my email address. If you would like to be a guest on this show, you can hit me up at alex@noparkingpodcast.com. If you want to contact Bryan, don’t. He doesn’t believe in social media. Follow us on www.noparkingpodcast.com. We look forward to getting feedback from you and discussing things that no one else will talk about at least honestly.