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A rolling living room in new hands

Zoox is a tech company located in where else … Northern California. Working towards the creation of an entirely new autonomous car, Zoox has its eyes firmly set on being the premier robo-taxi provider in the world. While it might seem they have a host of competition in this arena, many companies (like Zoox, but not really) are working on retrofitting human driven cars with autonomous technology. Zoox however is not interested in current car designs. They want to design the technology, and the car, to provide a robo-taxi experience that is not currently being pondered (that we know of). Think of a rolling living room where passengers interact with each other as if they were in a living room, and not a traditional car.

Founded by an Australian artist-designer and a Stanford educated tech savant, in December 2018 the company was the first to gain approval to provide self-driving services to the larger public. The company has raised over $800 million in venture capital and earlier this year made another big move – hiring a new CEO who is not only female, but born and raised in Senegal, Africa.

Let’s face it, tech companies (and many companies at that) are rarely run by anyone who is not male and white for the most part. This has been changing, no doubt, but for many the pace has been slow and not as progressive as would be desired. However, the best part to this story is nobody is talking about Zoox’s new CEO’s race or gender, but rather her background and professional performance. Aicha Evans was born in Senegal and later moved to Paris after her father accepted a job there. Fascinated at an early age with computer science, at the time in Paris the only degree she could pursue where computer science played a role was an electrical engineering degree. Being able to specialize in this field however is what eventually drove Evans to the U.S. and George Washington University in Washington D.C. accepted her with open arms.

Evans was an exceptional student and later accepted a position at Intel tasked with strengthening the wireless communications business, a market that was in the stranglehold of one firm – Qualcomm. Evans did just that and known for her creativity and ability to manage diverse teams is what drew Zoox to pluck Evans out of one of Northern California’s most successful firms.  

Zoox has big plans and Evans will be at the forefront. Her prowess leading teams of 7,000 plus employees was impressive as well as tackling one of the world’s most complex supply chains. As we already stated, Zoox is seeking to forge a new path in terms of autonomous transportation, and if any success is going to be had in the short-term, a creative CEO with an exceptional track-record is a must – check!

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