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Engineering Spotlight: Piaggio Fast Forward

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Piaggio Fast Forward, or PFF, was founded in 2015 by the Piaggio Group to pioneer the intelligent movement of people and goods. The company’s mission is to help people move better, further and faster, in ways that have not been possible before.

To get a closer look at how the team operates, we connected with two members of their team, Carlos Asmat and Eddie Carrillo, to learn more about the day-to-day operation of their engineering organization, the technical challenges they get to solve and what it is like working on their robotic mobile carrier called gita!

Also, Piaggio Fast Forward is hiring! Check out its BIZZpage for all the company’s openings!

Quick Hit Details

  • Year Founded:  2015

  • Number of employees: 63

  • Number of engineers: 43

  • Industry: Mobility

Can you share a summary on what Piaggio Fast Forward does?

Piaggio Fast Forward is pioneering the intelligent movement of people and goods by building technology products that move the way that people move.

Tell us about gita and the inspiration behind it.

gita, PFF’s first product, is a mobile-carrier that follows people on-the-go carrying up to 44 pounds. It is the answer for getting out the door without having to reach for the keys to the car. Through products like gita, PFF is creating a new mobility ecology of freedom, sustainability, health, social connection and pleasure for all people.

What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?

PFF is solving the problem of human mobility. While this topic might seem straightforward and intuitive, given that humans spend most of their lives honing mobility skills, endowing machines with similar skills requires ingenuity and hard work. For instance, the simple task of -following- requires highly advanced perception, motion dynamics, social skills, and style.

Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?  For example - skunk work projects, open source projects?

The team is very hands-on and most members of the engineering team have personal projects they’re working on, but they don’t directly overlap with PFF work. However, we do use a lot of open-source technology and we contribute back as much as we can.

Right now, everyone is focused on the development of our first product, gita. However, we often bring our personal interests into the office. These interests can range from the PFF car club, cooking classes taught by some of the team, a running club, and cross-functional projects (like designing and making our own cornhole boards).

What is the culture like at Piaggio Fast Forward for the engineering team?

We’re very passionate about solving problems elegantly. There’s no dogma or emotional attachment to tools or procedures, we adopt the best strategy to solve the problem at hand. We welcome feedback and ideas from everyone and always keep the end-user in mind.

The current mechanical engineering team was formed two years ago. We are a closely knit team and have been through many of the development challenges as the product has evolved. This cooperative process has really helped to build our team dynamic - although we are coworkers, we are also friends. We each have different strengths, which makes working through projects a true team effort.

What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?

Honest and friendly conversation, and technical questions. We can reliably detect if someone is competent and capable of completing practical projects. There's no tolerance for intentional vagueness or dishonesty.

Rapid Fire Q&A

What’s on tap?

Nitro Cold Brew or Firestone Double Jack

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Trek

iPhone or Android?

Depends on who you ask!

Coffee - hot or iced?

This time of year, definitely iced.

Favorite employee perk?

Social atmosphere, office dogs, Virtual Reality system

Piaggio Fast Forward Office Dog

Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.

Images courtesy of Piaggio Fast Forward

About the

Piaggio Fast Forward is pioneering intelligent approaches to the mobility of people and things at the right scale. 

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