Printer Friendly


PITTSBURGH, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute and the City of Pittsburgh moved closer to a new economic reality today, as groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the NASA Robotics Engineering Consortium (REC), which will be housed in a restored, historic foundry in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh.

The consortium's purpose is to commercialize the mobile robotic technologies NASA has developed over the years by working directly with American industry, and to send viable technologies back to NASA for use in space projects.

The Robotics Institute received a $2.5 million grant last year from NASA to establish the consortium. Later, the governor authorized $6.5 million in the Commonwealth's 1994-95 budget for the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of Pittsburgh to rehabilitate the Lawrenceville complex. The URA also contributed $1.3 million of its own funds to purchase the site.

The consortium, directed by David M. Pahnos, is working with New Holland North America, Inc. to develop a robotic harvester, with Caterpillar Corp. (NYSE: CAT), to automate digging equipment for use in surface mines and quarries and with Boeing Corp. (NYSE: BA), to develop advanced controls for high-speed, off-road, autonomous driving.

The REC draws upon technology developed at Carnegie Mellon, other universities and at NASA centers, including, Ames, Johnson and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Because the robotic machines being developed through the consortium require a great deal of space for operation and testing, the consortium worked closely with Pittsburgh's URA, which was instrumental in locating and purchasing an appropriate site.

Over the next several months, Volpat Construction Corp. will renovate 89,000 square feet of the 220,000-square-foot building between 40th and 43rd streets along the Allegheny River. Part of the complex dates back to 1898. The restoration was designed by Pittsburgh architectural firm Burt Hill Kosar Rittelman. The renovated facility should be ready for occupancy by early next summer.

"Members of the Regional Economics Revitalization Initiative cited robotics and related industries as strong potential contributors to the growth of new jobs and new opportunities in our region," said Carnegie Mellon President Robert Mehrabian. "Development and expansion of a thriving robotics industry in Southwestern Pennsylvania is part of our vision for our economic future."

"The formation of the Robotics Engineering Consortium has worked to create a hospitable and inviting environment for business and government partnership," said Congressman William J. Coyne. "The implications of the work produced here will change the world we live in."

"The development of new business in Pittsburgh will come from an extension of business that's already growing and thriving here," added Mayor Tom Murphy. "The strengths in research and engineering at Carnegie Mellon and the strength of our city's economy make the Robotics Engineering Consortium a perfect match."

"Clearly, the NASA Robotics Engineering Consortium has all the elements to become a world-class technology research facility," said Mulugetta Birru, URA executive director. "The consortium provides Pittsburgh with a unique showcase for our outstanding environment and support structure for technology-based entities and projects."

"Fifteen years ago, robotics was a fad," said Takeo Kanade, director of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. "Ten years ago technology transfer was a buzzword. Today all of this is becoming a reality."
 -0- 9/23/95

/CONTACT: Anne Watzman of Carnegie Mellon, 412-268-3830, or Norma Madden of Urban Redevelopment Authority, 412-255-6639/


CO: Carnegie Mellon University; NASA Robotics Engineering Consortium;

Urban Redevelopment Authority; City of Pittsburgh ST: Pennsylvania IN: CPR SU:

CD-DM -- PGSA001 -- 1864 09/23/95 10:30 EDT
COPYRIGHT 1995 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 23, 1995

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters