12:26 | 25.10.16 | Interviews | exclusive 28023

Uber representatives brand Armenian tech developments “fantastic”

Last week HIVE Seed Fund’s Silicon Valley UNLEASHED: Inside Tech’s Greatest Minds event took place at Tumo Creative Technologies Center in Yerevan.

Itel.am talked to Security Lead Chris Valasek and Software Engineering Manager Robbie Sedgewick of Uber Advanced Technologies Center.

- Did you know about Armenian IT sector before visiting Armenia, from Raffi Krikorian perhaps?

Chris Valasek: Of course, Raffi told us about Armenian IT, and we also knew of Teamable. As for Tumo, it’s a fantastic place. When I was the age of Tumo students, I could only dream of the opportunity to study at such a place. No one makes these teenagers attend Tumo, they go there on their own accord.

Robbie Sedgewick: In fact, Raffi told us a lot about Armenian developments. However, it’s one thing to hear about Tumo Center, and another to see it with your own eyes. I am immensely impressed. I’m amazed at the volume of efforts put into various projects, realized at the Center - the students take part in the entire process, not just do some little parts. This is fantastic.

As for Armenian startups, I was especially impressed by Skycryptor. That startup’s team did a fantastic job.

- How many people work at Uber Advanced Technologies Center, about a hundred? Do you have Armenian staff?

Chris Valasek: We have more than 100 staff in our Center in Pittsburg. I can say that compared to startups we have large staff, but not large enough for a tech ecosystem.

Beside Raffi, we have another Armenian on the team – Narek. He grew up in Yerevan and told us a lot about Armenia.

- Let’s discuss self-driving cars, the main product of your center. How would you describe a self-driving car in one word?

Chris Valasek: Futuristic. The fact that a car can drive on its own is so inspiring. This car will not drive drunk or tired, and it can drive in the direction you choose.

Robbie Sedgewick: I would describe the car in two words - world-changing.

Narine Daneghyan talked to Chris Valasek and Robbie Sedgewick

You can read the interview with Engineering Director at Uber Advanced Technologies Center Raffi Krikorian here.