Alumni Profiles: Raghavender Sahdev
In a few words, Raghavender Sahdev (MSc ‘15), can be described as ambitious, passionate, and creative. Born and raised in Bharat India, Raghavender decided to pursue his master‘s in Computer Science from York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering in 2015. The drive to discover and bring about transformational change helped propel his career and make him a leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) entrepreneur in Canada.
“Having a natural affinity for business led me to pursue my master’s degree,” says Raghavender. “I’m a workaholic. I see work as fun and my opportunity to do something cool, innovative, and beneficial for the industry.” Having worked in robotics for over a decade, Raghavender enjoys working on projects with real-world application, things that will ultimately make a positive contribution to society.
Raghavender is co-founder and CEO of NuPort Robotics Inc., Canada’s first autonomous trucking company. He met his co-founder, Bao Xin Chen, in 2016 while studying at Lassonde. In 2019 they became business partners focused on middle mile automation for company supply chain operations. NuPort’s mission is to increase sustainability and reduce operational costs for customers as they automate supply chains.
It was during the end of his Mitacs Globalink internship with the University of Toronto in 2014, when he met Distinguished Research Professor John K. Tsotsos, from the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and the Centre for Vision Research at York University. It was Dr. Tsotsos’ accomplishments and experience that influenced Raghavender’s decision to attend York University.
“I am an engineer by choice but an entrepreneur at heart,” he says. Following in the footsteps of his father, Raghavender always had the vision of owning and operating his own company. Having a strong desire to achieve high level results drives him to take on challenging tasks that push the boundaries of what is possible.
To achieve his goals, he knew that he would have to stand out in his studies and make an impact. He described his time at Lassonde as being flexible and empowering, providing him the opportunity to do more not only on campus but beyond the university.
“The flow of course work made it possible for me to travel while studying and gaining real-life experiences within the Robotics and AI industry,” says Raghavender. “Travelling opened my perspective towards the world in general. I have had the opportunity to travel to over 40 cities in 10 countries, many of which I travelled to during my time at York.”
Raghavender remembers spending many nights on campus in the labs and libraries so he could work on projects for his studies as well as his own personal interests. During his time at Lassonde, he published seven papers, exceeding the expectations of a master’s student, gaining him an advantage, and opening doors to many job opportunities post-graduation.
In addition to reviewing for the International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR), he successfully completed Google Summer of Code 2017, a program which connects students with mentors for three months to build open source software using the Mobile Robot Programming Toolkit (MRPT). He was invited back for the Google Summer of Code 2018 where his work on Addition of support for Motion Planners in ROS-MoveIt was published online.
Raghavender’s accomplishments have landed him on Forbes 30 under 30 list for North America in 2023, and the Birla Institute of Technology & Science Alumni Association (BITSAA ) Global Under 30 list in 2022. He also received the 2020 Mitacs Environmental Entrepreneur and Audience Favorite award. Ultimately, his goal is to have a huge impact on the world of robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
“Never let people determine your future or tell you it’s not possible. Assume that you do not know enough and strive to achieve what you believe is possible,” he says. “Stay hungry, humble, restless and push yourself beyond your comfort zone.”