Waymo, the self-driving car company that was once a Google subsidiary, is opening an office in Pittsburgh. As part of that opening, it’s hiring engineers who’ll work out of Google’s office in the city.
According to TechCrunch, Waymo has no plans to test out its autonomous platform on the hilly streets of Pittsburgh (not yet, at least). The city is already home to other autonomous-driving startups, including Argo AI and Aurora. All of these companies can presumably draw talent from local Carnegie Mellon University, which is renowned for its robotics and artificial-intelligence graduates; when Uber tried to make Pittsburgh its hub for autonomous-driving research, it (notoriously) poached a number of Carnegie Mellon researchers.
Right now, autonomous driving is a niche sub-industry; with the right breakthroughs, though, there’s every chance the technology could go mainstream. Take computer vision, a major technological component of autonomous driving; according to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, just under 20,000 postings asked for computer-vision skills over the past 12 months; however, Burning Glass also predicts that the need for technologists with the skill will increase 28 percent over the next decade.
Indeed, computer vision is likely to play a significant part in many technologist roles over the next 10 years, particularly computer and research scientists, data scientists, and software developers:
Training software to “see” has applications beyond self-driving cars, of course; everything from factories to smartphones will rely increasingly on the ability to analyze images and video. But autonomous driving remains one of its highest-profile applications. If you’re interested in any kind of automation, make it a point to learn as much as possible about computer vision; if Waymo and other companies succeed in their missions, it could become a must-have skill for many technologists in years ahead.