Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, an industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. She is also founder of Robot Launch, a global robotics startup competition, the Women in Robotics organization, co-founder of Robot Garden hackerspace, a mentor at hardware accelerators, startup advisor and investor, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.
When will robots finally arrive in our day-to-day reality?
They’re already have become a technology of the present, not of the future. Robots are blending into the world of humans right now. The most common misunderstanding is, that when we think of robots, we think of characters out of sci-fi movies. But actually, every new car is a robot, but we just call them cars.
So robots already hit the road? Absolutely. Have you been to the CES2018?
Cars, cars, cars – the expo was full of self-driving electric and augmented cars. The automotive industry has already become a robotics industry, and it will soon be an integrated part of our everyday life.
How did you become a robotics expert?
I’ve been interested in all the geeky things since I was a child. My parents encouraged that a lot, their jobs at universities meant that I got to play with computers and rockets and build equipment at a really early age. But that doesn’t mean I went straight into robotics. There are lots of barriers to entry for women and minorities. I ended up in other careers first, then being persistent in applying myself to interesting robotics opportunities. And if an opportunity didn’t exist, I’d create it.
Silicon Valley Robotics
Silicon Valley Robotics is the leading not-for-profit coalition of robotics companies and startups supporting the innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. They take the best ecosystem practices from Silicon Valley’s history of innovation and apply them to the emerging industries of robotics and AI. Silicon Valley Robotics partners with many global organizations to develop ecosystems, to teach innovation practices and to make connections with robotics and AI startups and investors.