Keep the jobs, remove the risks

In this episode, Nick and Brendan drive out to Oldcastle to meet with Scott M. Fairley, founder and CEO of Optimotive Technologies Inc to discuss their IRIS2 Mk1 autonomous ATV. According to Scott, Optimotive focuses on automating data collection in “…muddy, dusty, or otherwise unpredictable environments” (like aggregate piles) replacing the need for a person to do these repetitive and often dangerous tasks.

Optimotive does not sell autonomous robots. They sell the service of autonomous data collection from dangerous and remote environments. A company using their services will not need to retrain an employee to use IRIS2 and they will not be responsible for device maintenance, Optimotive will be. While the capabilities of their robot is quite impressive, Scott stresses that they are not there to replace any human jobs, simply to automate the non-job related, repetitive, and dangerous tasks.

Since IRIS2 will be working for extended periods in highly remote (and often dangerous) environments, Scott and Optimotive have designed and built a special Box that will be deployed along with IRIS2. The Box comes with a Starlink antenna (for constant communication and data transfer) and solar panels (for completely remote operations and battery charging).

Unlike many manufacturers, Optimotive has little trouble finding talented employees. Scott believes this is due to the healthy manufacturing culture in the Windsor-Essex region combined with the compelling and ‘cool’ nature of the products they produce.

His advice to other young people is to ‘…be curious, ask questions, and do not be afraid to fail!’ Have a listen.

00:00-03:32 – Intro
03:33-05:50 – Meeting Scott, his company Optimotive, and IRIS2…
05:51-07:06 – …and the box it comes in!
07:07-11:00 – Stealing jobs vs. task automation and how they are NOT the same thing
11:01-13:31 – Brendan could have used an IRIS2 robot when he was planting trees
13:32-15:47 – Discussing IRIS2’s capabilities & onboard tech
15:48-16:50 – Scott HATES planned obsolescence and builds his robots to reflect that
16:50-17:43 – Robots as a service
17:44-19:31 – The history & future of Optimotive
19:32-21:56 – How easy is it to grow/scale as a manufacturer?
21:57-23:33 – The partners that helped them get where they are
23:34-24:23 – The talent pool in the Windsor Region
24:24-27:33 – Scott expands on how he started out (Shout out to First Robotics)
27:34-29:24 – How much does this service cost?
29:25-30:28 – Any plans to break into nuclear maintenance?
30:29-33:22 – “So you have a roadmap?”
33:23-34:29 – Why they don’t use LIDAR
34:30-35:20 – Brendan asks about colour scheme of IRIS2
35:21-36:22 – Proving the doubters wrong, or, ‘It’s about reducing human suffering!’
36:23-39:21 – Scott explains what ‘Windsor-Style’ pizza is

Optimotive Technologies Inc
First Robotics

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