Islands of Autonomy

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
Location: KPMG
3975 Freedom Circle Drive
Suite 100
Santa Clara, CA 95054



Across the world, a trillion-dollar market is swiftly developing around a new and disruptive transportation mode: driverless vehicles coupled with mobility services. But the embrace – the adoption of this new transportation mode – will not be immediate and everywhere. Instead, it will arrive metro market by metro market in what we call “islands of autonomy.” To win in this marketplace of the future requires a new way of thinking.

Please join ACG Silicon Valley’s expert Keynote panel for a riveting discussion on Islands of Autonomy and what it means for Silicon Valley.


Our Distinguished Panel


Paul Sakamoto

Chief Operating Officer
Savari, Inc.

Paul Sakamoto is the COO of Savari, the leader in V2X (Vehicle to Vehicle/Infrastructure/Pedestrian) hardware and software. When installed in multiple DSRC-equipped vehicles, Savari’s products constantly update the other equipped vehicles and drivers in the area with predictive location data, thus preventing accident situations instead of reacting to them. The technology also improves fuel economy by dramatically increasing the safety and efficiency of traffic signal systems that interact using the DSRC standard.

Prior to Savari, Paul held a variety of senior leadership roles in the semiconductor equipment industry including DFT Microsystems (CEO), DCG Systems (VP/GM), Inovys (CEO), Credence Systems (VP/GM), Micro Component Technology (VP Sales), Megatest (Sales Director) as Intel Corp. (PE Manager).

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Paul received his BSEE from Oregon State University, which made him part of its Academy of Distinguished Engineers in 2010. Paul is a long term resident of Silicon Valley.


Dr. Maha Achour

CEO & Co-founder
Metawave Corp.

Dr. Maha Achour is CEO and Co-founder of Metawave Corporation, a VC-backed startup focused on commercializing next generation radar sensors for the automotive market.

Previously, Maha served as CTO of Rayspan where she commercialized the first metamaterial antennas and RF front-end subsystems for the cellular and WLAN industries. She pioneered the first Free-Space Optical systems for last-mile connectivity and has led various DARPA projects in wireless MIMO and Optical devices.

Maha holds a PhD in Physics from MIT, and completed the Master’s Degree program in Wireless Communication Theory and Systems at UCSD. She has authored over 30 publications in electrical engineering and physics, and has more than 80 granted and pending patents.


Nebiu (Neb) Mela

Venture Capital Investor
Intel Capital

Neb Mela is an Investment Manager driving early-venture and growth-equity investments in the Automated Driving Group at Intel Capital. In this role, Neb is responsible for sourcing and leading investments in autonomous vehicle technologies such as sensors, sensor fusion and software, automotive connectivity, data centric businesses, and advanced mobility business models.

Prior to Intel Capital, Neb was a technology investment banker and worked with public and private corporate clients executing buy/sell-side M&As and IPO. Neb began his career at Accenture in the strategy consulting group.

Neb received a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California and an MBA degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


Ashley Tarver

Big Data Evangelist
Cloudera Inc.

Ashley Tarver currently leads Cloudera’s big data initiatives involving self-driving autonomous vehicles and is also involved in other IoT projects focused on predictive analytics, anomaly detection, cloud, and machine learning. Ashley collaborates with a few of Cloudera’s top partners and consults with many companies about their digital transformation journey and the implementation of big data use-cases.

Ashley started his high tech career in 1990 as a field technician investigating and trouble- shooting circuit board failures in telecommunications equipment. He joined Cisco in 2000 and helped Verizon transform their legacy data and telecommunication infrastructure to IP-based services that included MPLS, Voice-over-IP (VoIP), and immersive video. Ashley’s next endeavor was helping Cisco launch several smart- solutions (smart-cities, transportation, energy, healthcare and more) which ultimately became the early days of big data and the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering (BSAE) from the University of Alabama where he was President of Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity, and President of American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA).


Gary Silberg

Partner – National Automotive Industry Leader

Gary Silberg is the KPMG LLP’s National Industry Lead Partner for the Automotive, as well as the Global Lead Partner for Ford Motor Company. With 25+ years of business experience, including over 15 years in the automotive industry, he advises numerous domestic and multinational companies in areas of strategy and mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures. His specific focus includes helping clients identify and evaluate investment and growth strategies from technology start-ups to large scale, multibillion dollar investments. In addition, for the past six years, he has focused on the intersection of technology and the automotive industry with groundbreaking research on self-driving cars, connectivity and mobility-on-demand services. He has written extensively about the auto industry

Gary has served as a keynote speaker at industry and corporate events such as: The U.S. Dept. of Energy including four of the US National Labs, the Hyundai Executive Summit in Korea (top 300 Hyundai executives); the Toyota Leadership Conference in Japan (top 200 Toyota execs), the NVIDIA GPU2017 conference, the OESA Annual Conference, Goldman Sachs Car 2025 conference, the SAE annual conference, AutoTech Council, CERES High performance Computing Conference at the University of Chicago, South Carolina Automotive Summit, and the Kentucky Automotive Summit.


Our Distinguished Moderator


J. Jennings Moss

Editor-in-Chief & General Manager
Silicon Valley Business Journal

J. Jennings Moss leads the editorial team at the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Previously, he was editor of the Upstart Business Journal, the New York Business Journal and Before becoming a business journalist, he spent several years in New York City as an editor with and and was a political journalist in Washington, D.C., covering national campaigns, Congress and the Clinton White House.