Women in Artificial Intelligence (Drive.ai) – Carol Reiley

In the present day, people and businesses are unanimous that AI will impact our daily lives, and that there are productivity gains to be enjoyed through the adoption of this technology. Overall, we can expect to see a spike in the frequency, flexibility and immediacy of data analysis across industries and applications to drive business decisions.

In today’s article, we look at how Carol Reiley co-founded Drive.ai and the challenges she faced.

Who is she?

Carol Reiley is an entrepreneur, scientist, and engineer who is the Co-Founder and Board Member of Drive.ai. She has been working in robotics for the past 15 years, beginning with underwater robots, and ranging to industrial and surgical applications. She is a strong leader and innovator who focuses on building teams, building trust, and building products. She strives for efficiency, high impact, and getting things done.

How Drive.ai started

Drive.ai was founded in 2015 by former lab mates out of Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. They are creating AI software for autonomous vehicles using deep learning, which they believe is the key to the future of transportation. They founded Drive.ai because they believe that this technology has the potential to save lives and transform industries, and they think this is the right team to do it.

The company has expanded to 180+ employees in less than 4 years and has raised a total of more than $77 million in venture funding to ‘build the brain of self-driving vehicles’ using deep learning, which the company believes is key to make autonomous cars a reality. They operate public-facing, robo-taxi services in Frisco and Arlington, Texas.

Carol Reiley didn’t start programming until her first day of college as a freshman engineering major. Pitted against students who’d been coding since they were ten, she found the experience “tremendously intimidating” and “almost quit several times”. Luckily, she not only persisted but thrived, going on to pursue a master’s and PhD in Computer Science and Robotics at Johns Hopkins.


Drive.ai is a Silicon Valley startup which offers turnkey mobility solutions with self-driving cars for partners and communities, solving for their unique and everyday transportation needs. It uses artificial intelligence to create self-driving transportation solutions that improve the state of mobility today.

Challenges she faced

In an interview, Carol shares about the challenges they faced during their journey. “Electricity was this brand-new concept everyone was excited about, but nobody knew how exactly it would impact the world. We see AI in the same way now.”

“The initial feedback we got was often discouraging, because the VCs were hoping we would pivot into something quickly profitable. We also started with too narrow of a focus: a perception solution.” said Carol. (Source: medium)

Challenges and ambiguities aside, Reiley’s mission since childhood has been to impact the world through engineering. Despite competition from deep-pocketed tech giants and auto industry skepticism, Reiley and her team raised a $12M Series A, grew the company to 60+, and released several autonomous vehicles on the road.

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