Pittsburgh Robotics Network talks goals for 2018

Pittsburgh Business Times, Lian Bunny

The Pittsburgh Robotics Network has important plans for 2018, according to founding member Jackie Erickson.

By day, Erickson works in public relations and government affairs, consulting for robotics companies mainly in the Pittsburgh area. She founded Jackie Group, a technology and policy business consulting organization. By night/any time she finds available, she works to build up the Robotics Network.

The Robotics Network, about two years old, has three areas of focus: creating awareness of robotics in the Pittsburgh area, attracting and retaining technological talent in the region and ultimately using Pittsburgh’s technological growth story to attract more investment to the area. The group has no official funding, she said.

“We’re super scrappy,” said Erickson. “You have a ton of people doing a lot of work, but know that this type of organization is needed.”

The group hosts network meetups and recruiting events. Erickson said meetups and events attract close to 50 participants. Overall, she said about 40 local robotics companies are represented at events.

Kevin Dowling, founding member of the Robotics Network and CEO of Kaarta, said he organized an initial meeting in 2016 to see if there was a need for this kind of network in Pittsburgh.

“I think from the outset we just really wanted to increase and promote communication among companies here,” he said.

For 2018, Erickson said the group’s overall goals focusing on awareness, retaining talent and investment will remain the same. The Robotics Network also plans to become an official 501(c)(6) group, which is not organized for profit and where no part of net earnings benefit a private shareholder or individual, according to the IRS. 

Erickson said she hopes this will happen within the next two to three months.

There are about 50 robotics companies in the Pittsburgh area, said Erickson. But there’s probably more. She hopes to have a “state of the robotics report” created so the Robotics Network has better data to work with.

She said she has talked with the Robotics Industries Association president about his group helping with the report, possibly sponsoring it. 

“We are having more discussions later this month,” she said via email. “It's not a done deal yet, but that is something that is not only needed but also requested by our robotics companies in the area. They want useful data to point to when they sell ‘Roboburgh’ as well.”

Overall, Dowling said he hopes to improve the Robotics Network in 2018. 

“We just anticipate growing the (Robotics Network) and helping organizations and people as much as we can.”

For Full Story, Visit Pittsburgh Business Times

Why is Pittsburgh Ideal for Your Robotics Business?

Pittsburgh’s position as one of the top robotics research hubs in the U.S. has set it up to be a world leader in this industry. Pittsburgh is near the head of the pack, trailing only Boston but ahead of Silicon Valley and other robotics hotbeds such as Tokyo and Seoul, according to Gizmodo.

In 1999, when The Wall Street Journal bestowed the moniker of “Roboburgh” on Pittsburgh, some people may have wondered how a place that was once the “steel city” earned such a futuristic title. But Pittsburgh has only accelerated its drive to be on the cutting edge since then and is proving that it has what it takes to compete in the robotics big league.

What is it about Pittsburgh that allows it to capture attention — and investment dollars — from robotics and artificial intelligence giants such as Uber TechnologiesArgo AIBosch, Disney Research, and Delphi, to name a few?

It’s a trifecta of strengths, as I see it. While this is an oversimplification, it’s one way to present the case for landing — or expanding — a robotics business in Pittsburgh. Here are three areas that, in my opinion, help define this Pennsylvania city’s unique value proposition for robotics.

  • Talent
  • R&D horsepower + industry-advancing partnerships
  • Conventional infrastructure

For the full story, visit Robotics Business Review.

Pittsburgh Robotics Network Hosts First RoboPGH Day

Pittsburgh Robotics Network Hosts First RoboPGH Day



The Pittsburgh Robotics Network, a community of robotics companies, hosts the first ever RoboPGH Day to showcase the great success and growth of robotics since the 2011 visit of President Obama visit to Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center.  Robotics companies were joined by U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and City of Pittsburgh officials to highlight the company expansion and job growth and economic development impact over the last five years. 

In 2011, President Barack Obama selected Pittsburgh as the city to announce the National Robotics Initiative, a multi-agency effort to accelerate the development and use of robotics in the larger effort to promote the American Manufacturing Partnership. Since the announcement, Pittsburgh has unleashed a new generation of robotics companies.  

In a recent survey conducted by the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, since 2011, Pittsburgh has generated 19 new businesses that are providing robotics solutions to a wide variety of industries such as agriculture, defense, mining, health care, industrial inspection, transportation, and warehouse automation. Of the 40 robotics companies and research institutions associated with the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, over 1,500 new jobs have been added to the economy, a 300% growth in employment over a five-year period.   

“Robots play an important role in the local economy. In fact, we’ve experienced remarkable growth in this field since President Obama announced the launch of the National Robotics Initiative here five years ago. Over that short time, we’ve seen employment in local robotics companies skyrocket from 250 to more than 1500,” says Congressman Mike Doyle. “Robotics has become an important contributor to the economic resurgence of Pittsburgh – with one of the latest and largest developments being Uber’s establishment of an advanced technology center in Pittsburgh to develop self-driving vehicles. I believe that robotics and advanced manufacturing technology is critical for our region’s future economic growth. As a result, I have been a strong supporter of local efforts to support and promote Pittsburgh’s growth as a world leader in this field.”

“RoboPGH Day is an opportunity to highlight Pittsburgh’s emerging robotics ecosystem,” says Chris Osterwood, CTO of Carnegie Robotics and Founding Officer of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network.   “The companies represented today strive to challenge the status quo and are dedicated to driving innovation, growth while providing real world solutions.  The robotics companies of Pittsburgh will lead the advancement and innovation of industries across every sector today, and for generations to come. “

RoboPGH Day, was held at Carnegie Robotics, a spin-out from CMU’s National Robotics Engineering Center that reinvigorated an abandoned steel mill and is now an innovative robotics manufacturing hub. In the Carnegie Robotics high bay, twenty robotics companies from across the Pittsburgh area provided demonstrations ranging from autonomous solutions for ground and aerial vehicles, to autonomous warehouse logistics, dual robotic arms and robotic car seats.  RoboPGH Day is the first event to highlight the successful robotics industry growth and impact on the Pittsburgh economy.