The final episode of our RoboHouse Interview Trilogy: ‘Working Life of a Robotics Engineer’ interviewed Srimannarayana Baratam. Sriman, as he is also called, co-founded the company Perciv.ai just two months after graduating. Rens van Poppel traces his journey so far.
Perciv.ai claims that AI-driven machine perception can become affordable for everyone. When did this vision take shape, and how did it happen? Sriman pointed to a period after graduation. He said it was very important to build trust with partners, and consensus with effective communication. Because starting your own company comes with a lot of challenges.
“It is important to find a partner who can be trusted,” said Sriman. “You need to understand each other’s motivation and commitment. You need to assess what real value this person adds to the team.”
Coming from an automotive background in India, Sriman’s master’s thesis investigates the use of radar and cameras to protect vulnerable people in urban environments. He co-founded the start-up with his supervisor, Dr András Pálffy, and Balazs Szekeres, another robotics student who heard about the project. Within two months of his graduation, Sriman and his co-founders got together to focus full-time on their vision for Perciv.ai.
“In July and August we sat down and discussed the vision between the three of us,” he said. This period also gave rise to tough conversations, ranging from finance to market strategy. “When the main question is finally settled, you’ve just taken that leap of faith together. This leap of faith is proving to be paying off, seeing high levels of trust lead to high levels of productivity over the last five months.”
Since then Perciv.ai won NWO phase 1 take-off grantgot their own office and workspace in RoboHouse, signed a contract with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) company and in doing so, generated their first sales revenue.
“That doesn’t mean there aren’t any more heavy debates,” added Sriman. “We all share the same vision, but in order to achieve our goal of a sustainable and affordable product, we sometimes have different ideas about what the final product will look like.”
Sriman’s passion for robotics and the company’s goals are clear: “We want to make machine perception technology available to everyone.”
Post RoboHouse Interview Trilogy, Part III: Srimannarayana Baratam and Perciv.ai appeared the first time Robot House.
Rens van Poppel