Allison Thackston


About Me

Allison Thackston

Allison has a passion for solving practical problems with robotics. Building on her experience in the self-driving car industry at Nuro and her background in robotics research, she is leading a team to solve some of the toughest problems in self-driving cars at Waymo.

Allison previously held the position of Engineering Lead and Manager of the Shared Autonomy Robotics team at Toyota Research Institute. Her team focused on developing advanced robotic teleoperation technologies that enable robots and people to seamlessly and safely work together. She has also worked as the Lead Manipulation Researcher/Project Manager at Toyota Partner Robotic Group where she investigated robust task and motion planning manipulation strategies in unstructured environments.

Before joining Toyota, she was the Lead Engineer for Robotic Perception on Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot on the International Space Station. She was responsible for software development and applied vision research to facilitate cooperation between robots and people.

Allison has degrees in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Her thesis focused on collision avoidance during supervised robotic manipulation.

Robotics

10+ years experience

Broad knowledge across all robotics domains including perception, manipulation, and control

Vision

Experience applying research to next generation products

Understand "big picture" of how components fit together

Prioritize projects with understanding of milestones, budgets, and personnel

Leadership

History of motivating teams to deliver on time

Excellent communication skills

Ability to coordinate across functional areas