Carnegie spin-out to develop robotic systems with NREC

Carnegie Mellon University has launched Carnegie Robotics, a spin-out that will develop, manufacture and service robotic components and systems with the university’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC).

Carnegie Robotics will create products based on technology licensed from the NREC, an arm of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute that performs applied research and prototype development for industry and government.

John Bares, the head of the new company, said Carnegie Robotics will initially concentrate on producing components that other manufacturers can use to automate machines used in fields including mining, agriculture, petroleum production and defence.

As the company develops its own production expertise, plans call for manufacturing and servicing of entire robotic systems. The company and NREC might also benefit from jointly marketing their services, added Bares.

‘NREC has become the “go to” organisation for performing applied research and prototype development for field robots,’ said Anthony Stentz, who is taking over leadership of the NREC. ‘But now when we deliver a prototype, NREC customers increasingly want to know who can convert the prototype to a manufacturable product, as well as support and service the product over its lifetime. By addressing this production need, NREC will occupy a more competitive position and realise continued growth.’

Since it opened in 1996, NREC has developed a number of unmanned ground vehicles and autonomous systems for the US Defense Department, ranging from a virtual 3D video system for enhanced tele-operation of vehicles to advanced large robotic vehicles, such as the Crusher ground combat vehicle.

Sponsored research at the NREC increased from $16.9m (£10.9m) in fiscal year 2005 to $24.8m in fiscal year 2010; during the same five-year period, industry-sponsored research increased from $853,000 to $8.7m.