Lucas K Watson

A roboticist and maker who enjoys writing software for robots of all shapes, sizes, and dimensionalities.

About.

I'm a roboticist; I enjoy working on robots of all shapes, sizes, and dimensionalities. Primarily, I focus on software in planning and controls, however I've also done work in perception, human-robot interaction, and systems-level software.

Currently I work as a Software Engineer at Waymo.

Previously, I worked at Piaggio Fast Forward where we launched gita, a consumer, cargo-carrying robot that follows people on the go. While there, I designed and wrote the planning and controls stack which dictates how gita follows a human. I also developed track filtering techniques, optimized CNN inferencing for our embedded platform, and helped build and test our custom message serialization and transport library.

I also previously worked as a robotics software engineer in planning and controls at Optimus Ride, an autonomous vehicle startup in Boston.

In 2019, I completed my MS at Boston University where I specialized in robotics and controls. Shortly before that, I graduated with my BS in mechanical engineering from BU where I focused my coursework in acoustics and robotics.

Interests.

I'm excited by the impact robots can have on our future. I'm particularly interested in how robots can transform our urban environments by, for example, enabling us to reclaim land previously dedicated to parking. I believe autonomous vehicles and light-mobility solutions like gita are beginning to move us towards this goal.

I find physical acoustics fascinating. I previously worked in the Physical Acoustics Lab at BU under Professor Holt. My interest in acoustics is what originally drew me to BU.

I also continue to be invested in hackathons. I believe hackathons offer an immensely empowering experience in which students can realize their ability to make. Hackathons did this for me, and I try to pass on that experience wherever I can.

When I do manage to find free time, I produce a podcast, play the clarinet, and enjoy film photography.

Work.

Current.

  • Software Engineer, Reasoning — Waymo

Former.

  • Software Engineer, Planning and Controls — Optimus Ride
  • Robot Software Intern/Engineer — Piaggio Fast Forward
  • Research Assistant — Physical Acoustics Lab
  • Learning Assistant — BU Physics Department
  • Mentor — Technology Innovation Scholars Program (TISP)
  • Mentor — FIRST Robotics (via TISP)
  • IT Technician / Web Developer — MEFA
  • Part Designer — Freelance

Not work.

Current.

  • Film photography.
  • Tinkering.
  • Pedagogy for Robotics Education.

Former.

  • Director — BostonHacks
  • Co-Founder — The Common Thread Podcast
  • Member — Ignite Student Leadership Council
  • Member — OpenWeb
  • Member — MakeBU
  • Member — CAS Academic Policy Committee
  • Principal Clarinet — All-Campus Orchestra

Awards.