David Stavens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
David Stavens
Born1982 (age 36–37)[1]
Alma materStanford University, Princeton University
Scientific career
FieldsDriverless cars, robotics,[2] computer science
InstitutionsUdacity (co-founder)
ThesisLearning to Drive: Perception for Autonomous Cars (2011)
Doctoral advisorSebastian Thrun[3]
Other academic advisorsAndrew Ng, Fei-Fei Li.[4]

David Stavens is an American entrepreneur and scientist. He was co-founder and CEO of Udacity and a co-creator of Stanley,[5] the winning car of the second driverless car competition of the DARPA Grand Challenge.[6] Stavens has published in the fields of robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Stavens grew up in Sioux City, Iowa and attended Princeton University, graduating with a B.S.E. in Computer Science, Magna Cum Laude, at age 19.[8] He is an alumnus of Stanford University's Computer Science department for both M.S.[9] and Ph.D.[10] programs. His Ph.D. was advised by Sebastian Thrun.[11]

Autonomous cars[edit]

Stavens was a co-creator on Stanford’s autonomous car team.[12] The team built Stanley, the winner of the second driverless car competition of the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005. Stanley has been on display in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History[13] and National Air and Space Museum.[14] Academic publications from the team (by Stavens along with Hendrik Dahlkamp, Adrian Kaehler, Sebastian Thrun, Gary Bradski) state that they applied self-supervised learning, to detect drivable surfaces in the desert for self-driving cars which led the vehicle to win the race.[15] Stavens's publications state that they apply the concept of self-supervised learning to autonomous driving with the benefit of avoiding human intervention.[16][17] His dissertation states that this self-supervised learning approach has the potential to improve human driving performance.[4] . The Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab awarded Stavens a gold medal "For his groundbreaking contributions to the winning DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle...." [18]

The Stanford autonomous driving team ultimately joined Google as the foundation of Google's self-driving car team (Waymo).[19]

Stavens also made contributions to the 2009 NASA Mars Rover Mission.[20]

Indoor WiFi maps[edit]

Stavens also worked on research at Stanford on indoor localization using WiFi signal strength measurements. The goal was to create a system capable of delivering GPS-quality localization indoors, where GPS satellites do not function. He and Jesse Levinson were winners of the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship in 2009 which provided $100,000 in funding for the research.[21]

He published the research along with Joseph Huang, David Millman, Morgan Quigley, Sebastian Thrun, and Alok Aggarwal, stating that it produced excellent results in practice.[22] Joseph Huang went on to found an indoor localization start-up, WifiSLAM,[23] that was acquired by Apple.[24]

Online education[edit]

Stavens co-founded and was CEO of Udacity.[25] Udacity helped popularize the concept of the offering college courses for free as Massive open online course's (MOOC),[26] intended to make high-quality education accessible and nearly free around the entire world via Internet.[27]

As CEO, he grew the company to 160,000 students and 20 employees.[28] Udacity was valued at $1 billion in 2015.[29] As of 2018, Udacity had over 50,000 paid students and $70 million in revenue.[30]


  1. ^ Efrati, Amir (2012-04-12). "Start-Up Expands Free Course Offerings Online". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  2. ^ Thrun, Sebastian; Montemerlo, Mike; Dahlkamp, Hendrik; Stavens, David; Aron, Andrei; Diebel, James; Fong, Philip; Gale, John; Halpenny, Morgan (2007). The 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. pp. 1–43. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-73429-1_1. ISBN 9783540734284.
  3. ^ David Stavens at the Mathematics Genealogy Project. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Learning to drive [electronic resource] : perception for autonomous cars in SearchWorks catalog". searchworks.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  5. ^ Leckart, Steven. "The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  6. ^ Davis, Joshua. "Say Hello to Stanley". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  7. ^ "David Stavens - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  8. ^ "David Stavens' Homepage". ai.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  9. ^ "Masters Alumni | Stanford Computer Science". cs.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  10. ^ "Ph.D Alumni | Stanford Computer Science". cs.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  11. ^ "David Stavens - The Mathematics Genealogy Project". www.genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  12. ^ Poletti, Therese. "Why the father of the self-driving car left Google". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  13. ^ ""Stanley" Robot Car". National Museum of American History. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  14. ^ "Stanley Moves In". National Air and Space Museum. 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  15. ^ Dahlkamp, H.; Kaehler, A.; Stavens, D.; Thrun, S.; Bradski, G. (2006-08-16). Self-supervised Monocular Road Detection in Desert Terrain. 02. ISBN 9780262693486.
  16. ^ Stavens, David; Thrun, Sebastian (2006-07-13). A self-supervised terrain roughness estimator for off-road autonomous driving. AUAI Press. pp. 469–476. ISBN 978-0974903927.
  17. ^ Stavens, D.; Thrun, S. (June 2010). Unsupervised learning of invariant features using video. 2010 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition. pp. 1649–1656. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/CVPR.2010.5539773. ISBN 978-1-4244-6984-0.
  18. ^ "David Stavens, talk, gold medal for DARPA Grand Challenge vision algorithms". searchworks.stanford.edu.
  19. ^ "What we're driving at". Official Google Blog. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  20. ^ Ghosh, Shona (2013-03-09). "Google Glass: the scientists behind Google's augmented reality glasses". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  21. ^ "Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship Winners | Qualcomm". Qualcomm. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  22. ^ Huang, J.; Millman, D.; Quigley, M.; Stavens, D.; Thrun, S.; Aggarwal, A. (May 2011). Efficient, generalized indoor WiFi GraphSLAM. 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. pp. 1038–1043. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/ICRA.2011.5979643. ISBN 978-1-61284-386-5.
  23. ^ "Indoor location is ready for its second act (exclusive)". VentureBeat. 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  24. ^ "Apple Buys Indoor Mapping Company WifiSLAM". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  25. ^ Cheshire, Tom. "University just got flipped: how online video is opening up knowledge to the world". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  26. ^ "Udacity Official Declares MOOCs 'Dead' (Though the Company Still Offers Them) - EdSurge News". EdSurge. 2017-10-12. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  27. ^ "Udacity's Sebastian Thrun, Godfather Of Free Online Education, Changes Course". Fast Company. 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  28. ^ Efrati, Amir (2012-04-12). "Start-Up Expands Free Course Offerings Online". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  29. ^ "Udacity Raises $105 Million Series D, Bringing Valuation To $1 Billion – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  30. ^ "Udacity, with eye to eventual IPO, says revenue more than doubled..." Reuters. 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-03-04.