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40 SMT007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2019 Feature Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Nate Ramanathan is the VP of operations at AEye, a developer of perception systems for autonomous vehicles. AEye has transitioned from initial engineering development into the final design for production and manufacturing of very large quantities. Because the boards will be particularly complex once assembled and must withstand extremes in temperature and humidity, AEye's designs must be robust and high yield. As I spoke with Ramanathan, AEye is in the sweet spot where the PCB manufacturers like to come onboard with a startup—beyond pro- totyping, just finishing designs, and holding a forecast for product sales. As such, Ramana- than's criteria and perspective on selecting vendors speak for the general trends in the in- dustry. In other words, his thinking is similar to most every prospective new customer that a CM will encounter. I found Ramanathan's per- spective to be specific and creative. Nolan Johnson: As we start this conversation, can you tell us about your role at AEye and what AEye does? Nate Ramanathan: Sure. As the VP of opera- tions at AEye, I cover manufacturing, pilot, supply chain sourcing, procurement, facilities, quality, regulatory, and everything else. AEye is a perception company—robotic perception in particular—focused on iDAR, or intelligent detection and ranging. Our system uses solid- state agile LiDAR fused and boresighted with a low-light HD camera and embedded. And all of it is software definable, allowing customizable data collected based on the customer's needs. Our differentiator is our architecture. Johnson: Before this interview, we were talking about where AEye is in your go-to-market plan. You're a startup and also moving from proto- Nate Ramanathan on Choosing a Prototype Partner and Production Supplier

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