Vignan Velivela

I am an Engineer based in San Francisco. I work on motion planning for self-driving cars at Cruise Automation. Previously, I was a Masters student in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

As a grad student, I worked on the CubeRover. It is a lunar rover being developed for scientific exploration on the moon. The project is led by Prof. Red Whittaker at the Planetary Robotics Lab in CMU and supported by NASA. It would be the lightest planetary rover ever to be developed, if the planned mission in 2021 is successful. Why? Think cubesats but for planetary exploration. Also, I find rocket landings to be supercool.

Before joining CMU, I was co-founder of Prajaloan, a digital lending company based in Bangalore, India. We were working on improving access to capital for individuals (Praja in sanskrit means people). During this journey, we built a peer to peer lending platform which automated identity verification (Aadhaar), risk quantification, enforcing digital contracts and payments.

I attended college at BITS (Pilani campus) in India. At BITS, I pursued a dual major program receiving a Bachelors in Electronics Engineering and a Masters in Economics. I completed my final year thesis at CSIR (New Delhi). My areas of focus were Sustainable Energy Technologies and Science Policy.

Twitter | Medium | Linkedin

News/Updates (recent first)

1. I love and support the below organizations. Consider donating and feel free to send me others you like.

  • Internet - Wikipedia, Internet Archive, Mozilla, FreeBSD, EFF, Plato (Stanford).
  • Education - TED-Ed, arXiv, MIT OCW, 3Blue1Brown, Akshaya Patra.
  • Planet - Tompkins Conservation, Planetary Society, B612.
  • Basic Science - Cold Spring Harbor, IAS (Princeton), Santa Fe Institute.
  • General - Long Now, GiveWell, Effective Altruism, YC Research.

  • 2. Like biking and want to complete the Great Allegheny Passage.
    3. Attended a 10-day silent meditaion camp and trekked the Valley of Flowers in the Himalayas.
    4. Travel plans: Patagonia, both the poles. ETA 2020 (ish). Drop a note if you have any recommendations or tips.

    Small Satellite Constellations: Promise of Internet for All
    Vignan Velivela

    Paper | Medium Post

    Over four billion people do not have access to Internet; that makes a huge two-thirds of the global population. In India, around two out of every three people lack this basic resource. Various access technologies are being developed in different parts of the world to bridge this digital divide. Amongst these technologies, the emergence of small satellites carries immense promise. These satellites are used for applications ranging from remote sensing to communications and climate and weather forecasting. This paper describes the promises and challenges of low earth orbit satellite constellations. It explores key technology trends, the regulatory environment and business potential which would make these audacious ventures possible.

    Credits: Template (this, this), favicon (creator, idea idea, idea)