Self-Driving Veteran Jur van den Berg Joins Waabi

Jur van den Berg (Waabi)`

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Autonomous truck developer Waabi has expanded its leadership team by hiring self-driving vehicle technologist Jur van den Berg as its principal software engineer.

Van den Berg was previously co-founder and chief technology officer at Ike, another automated trucking startup that was acquired by Nuro in 2021. Prior to that, he worked at autonomous trucking developer Otto and at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group after it acquired Otto in 2016. His experience also includes stints at Apple and Google.

“He represents true experience in the industry,” Waabi CEO Raquel Urtasun said. “He has worked on all use cases from last-mile delivery to robo-taxis to trucks.”

Toronto-based Waabi, founded in 2021, is taking a simulation-centric approach to developing a virtual driver capable of operating unmanned commercial trucks across stretches of highway in hub-to-hub operations.

“Raquel and I share a common vision for an effective way to solve autonomous trucking at scale,” van den Berg said. “It starts with taking on the challenge holistically, rather than with incremental updates and adjustments, and values safety above all else. Waabi’s unique AI-first approach accomplishes both. It has the potential to finally realize the world-changing impact of self-driving technology, and it’s all backed by a phenomenal team. I’m very excited to join the team and apply my decades of experience to this mission.”

Waabi has increased its staff to about 100 employees in Canada and the United States as the startup company scales up its operations, Urtasun said. “We are in hyper growth.”

Waabi also recently hired trucking executive Dustin Koehl as its head of transportation. Koehl was previously senior vice president for over-the-road operations at truckload carrier U.S. Xpress Enterprises.

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