How a 13-Year-Old Kansas City Native Kickstarted the Self-Driving Industry

BattleBot enthusiasts remember the "Decimator" very well.  Decimator's creator, 13-year-old Kyle Vogt, winced with every blow that took down his robot over a decade ago.  However, Kyle's robot hobby completely changed his thinking about what robots are capable of.  After the crushing defeat of his robot, the long drive home from Las Vegas to Kansas City gave Kyle plenty of time to think. 

Kyle had one simple thought that changed everything, "a robot can do this".  Today, at the age of 30, Kyle lives in Silicon Valley as the CEO of Cruise Automation, a self-driving car company that was recently purchased by GM for $600 million.  His company has been pegged as the secret weapon GM needs to pull ahead of Google in the self-driving car race.  

Who would have thought that a battle robot competition would lead Kyle to become one of the leading minds of the self-driving industry.  His story serves as reminder of how important it is not only to expose young people to technology, but also teach them how to build with it. You never know where their creativity and problem-solving skills can lead them.  

A robotics program should be a requirement in every high school across the nation!