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Welcome to Episode 27 of The Robot Report Podcast, which brings conversations with robotics innovators straight to you. Join us each week for discussions with leading roboticists, innovative robotics companies, and other key members of the robotics community.
This week, Eugene Demaitre and I speak with Joel Reed, the interim executive director of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network. He is also the former VP and CEO of IAM Robotics, a leading developer of autonomous mobile manipulators. Joel updates us on the status of the Pittsburgh robotics cluster, tells us about some interesting companies to watch, his daily sightings of autonomous vehicles, and how the cluster has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
We also dive into Aurora’s acquisition of Uber’s self-driving unit, the Advanced Technologies Group. We try to figure out why Aurora would have purchased Uber ATG, which spent more than $3 billion developing self-driving cars that reportedly “couldn’t drive more than half a mile without encountering a problem.” And an Uber employee reportedly sent an internal email shortly before the March 2018 fatal crash that said “a car was damaged nearly every other day in February. We shouldn’t be hitting things every 15,000 miles.”
If you would like to be a guest on an upcoming episode of the podcast, or if you have recommendations for future guests or segment ideas, contact Steve or Eugene. For sponsorship opportunities of The Robot Report Podcast, contact Courtney Nagle for more information.
- 0-3:24 Show Intro
- 3:25-41:18: Conversation with Joel Reed, interim executive director, Pittsburgh Robotics Network
- 41:19-42:04: RoboBusiness Direct preview
- 42:05-56:46: Why did Aurora acquire Uber ATG?
- 56:47-1:01:23: AutoX launches first driverless fleet in Shenzhen, China
- 1:01:24-1:06:49 Can LiDAR sensors make robot vacuums susceptible to hackers?
- 1:06:50-1:08:45: Show Outro
- Uber sells self-driving unit to Aurora, ending a tumultuous era
- 10 major mergers & acquisitions in autonomous vehicles
- Pittsburgh Robotics Network
- Fundraising in the age of COVID-19
- National University of Singapore study on hacking robot vacuums
- AutoX deploys its first fully driverless roboTaxi fleet in Shenzhen, China