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BMW Ventures Adviser: Stop Killing People, Get Robot Cars on the Road

Robot cars now, not later.

Asa Mathat

Every day we keep self-driving cars off the road is another day we let thousands of people die in traffic accidents, according to a key investor and adviser in autonomous vehicles.

“Any delay in getting autonomy out there is a crime,” Mark Platshon, an adviser to the BMW i-Ventures Fund, said at the Code/Mobile conference at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Vehicle deaths nationwide amount to a “9/11 a month,” he added.

Platshon shared the stage with Re/code Senior Editor Ina Fried and Dr. Stefan Heck, the founder of an autonomous driving company called Nauto. The guests focused on the seismic transformation coming from autonomous vehicles to the car market. It’s a shift spurring an entire industry of startups, beguiling tech giants — Google, Apple and Microsoft — and forcing automakers to innovate on every front.

Platshon, an active investor, is managing director of Icebreaker Ventures and partner with Birchmere Ventures. He also advises BMW, one of the carmakers angling to adjust to the coming changes in car ownership and use. He co-founded Amprius, a lithium-ion battery company, and was an early investor in Tesla, which is now selling its own lithium-ion batteries. He’s also a backer of several companies working on mobility, electric vehicles and autonomous driving.

One of those companies is Nauto, a startup building safety features for vehicles using advanced computer vision. It just launched last week.

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