July Headlines Round-up

Jul 28, 2020 | News

Pittsburgh Headlines

On July 9, Select USA hosted a virtual tour of Pittsburgh focused on the region’s AI and robotics scene. Joel Reed, PRN Executive Director, led a discussion on Pittsburgh’s robotics history and what’s attracting companies to the region. Due the pandemic, this event was held virtually and reached more than 250 attendees from around the world. 

WalletHub named Pittsburgh the 39th most educated city out of the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas. WalletHub used 11 metrics, like the percentage of adults 25 years and older with a graduate or professional degree and the quality of universities.

Forbes highlighted Carnegie Mellon University as having one of the top AI undergraduate courses, which is unsurprising given that CMU also lays claim to being the place where AI was first invented more than 50 years ago.

Pittsburgh Next is Now, a new platform focused on attracting businesses to the region, launched and shared new key statistics. Did you know that more than 270 unique VC firms, angel groups and strategic investors from around the world invested in Pittsburgh companies in the last five years?

Site Selection Magazine explored why large tech firms are expanding to Pittsburgh and cited the region’s strong talent pipeline. Pittsburgh region has nearly 60 universities and schools that confer more than 44,000 degrees and certificates, including 12,000 in tech fields. explored Pittsburgh’s robust tech history and how Pittsburgh’s robotics network laid the foundation for expansion into other tech sectors.

“We call them [Pittsburgh robotics companies] the unsung heroes of Pittsburgh tech. Not only are they providing amazing jobs but amazing experience for our technology professional population doing cutting-edge technological development. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?” – Jennifer Apicella, president and CEO of Build412 Tech in the article

PRN Member Headlines

The Pittsburgh-based ARM – Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute has received funding from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for a robotics project to automate part of the COVID-19 testing process. The project will develop, integrate and deliver collaborative robots to automate part of the COVID-19 testing process, with expected availability within 4 months after the project begins.

Jake Loosararian, Founder and CEO of Gecko Robotics was named one of Hive Ventures’ 30 under 30 Armenians in Tech! Over the last 7 years, Gecko, has grown to over 130 employees. Customers include Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, Duke Energy, and the DOD. Gecko has raised $50M in funding from top VC’s such as Founders Fund, Y Combinator, Drive Capital, and HIVE Ventures.

PRN Member Seegrid has announced its plans for a remote-first workplace while maintaining its headquarters in Pittsburgh. Shifting to remote-first allows Seegrid to expand its extensive talent search. Over the past 12 months, Seegrid has expanded its teams by nearly 40%, with plans to continue that growth rate throughout the year to support their growing customer base. Additionally, Seegrid achieved a 97% employee retention rate.

A new study by researchers from UPMC and PRN Member the University of Pittsburgh has reported the highest-ever accuracy so far in the identification and characterization of prostate cancer with the help of an artificial intelligence (AI) program.

The Department of Defense (DoD) extended its potential $2.7 billion contract with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to operate the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) for an additional term of five years.

PRN Member Aurora announced that it would expand its testing to Dallas, TX as it aims to accelerate the development of self-driving trucks.

Robotics Industry News

Pittsburgh-based Aeras Fog Company has developed a drone that can sanitize entire stadiums in three hours. The drone uses electrostatic technology to quickly and safely sanitize large areas. Aeras note that the drone can spray up to 20 acres per hour, and the area can be safely occupied three minutes after it is sprayed.

The Robotics Business Review took a look at June 2020 investments in robotics and noted that investment and acquisition activity picked up a bit for autonomous vehicles, mobile robots, healthcare systems, and industrial automation.