The Pittsburgh Robotics Network yesterday announced that it is presenting the first Discovery Day 2022 as an opportunity for people of all ages, backgrounds, experience, and education to learn about the region's robotics ecosystem. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.
“Discovery Day offers something for everyone, and it provides us with a unique opportunity to share the work we’re so passionate about with the larger Pittsburgh community,” stated Joel Reed, executive director of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRN). “In addition to highlighting the robots being created in our region, our hope is to help inspire lifelong STEM learning and pave the way for the next generation of robotics.”
The Pittsburgh Robotics Network said it represents the companies and leaders that make Pittsburgh “the robotics capital of the world.” It is anchored by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and includes more than 130 robotics organizations, including leading autonomous vehicle developers.
The PRN said its mission is to accelerate the adoption of automation by connecting this large and dynamic community to the world. The organization helps individuals, academic and research institutions, and businesses connect. It also works to expand collective knowledge and aid in the advancement of robotics and artificial intelligence.
Discovery Day 2022 includes three zones
“We're pulling back the curtain on the robotics industry in Pittsburgh,” Reed told Robotics 24/7. “This PRN-originated event goes well beyond networking meetups. We want to connect this robotics cluster with the people of Southwestern Pennsylvania.”
“Early on, we heard from some areas in the community that robotics leaders were intimidating—nothing could be farther from the truth,” he explained. “We're in a position to aggregate these companies and help them connect with potential employees, suppliers, and partners.”
Discovery Day attendees will have the opportunity to experience three zones:
1. Robots on display
Attendees can see the wide variety of robots that local companies have invented and developed, with hands-on demonstrations to help them understand their purpose and potential.
“We'll have representatives from the autonomous vehicle sector, including Argo AI, Aurora, and Locomation,” noted Reed. “We'll also have Near Earth Autonomy and several companies that provide drones. In addition, Agility Robotics will be there with its bipedal robot, and we're expecting at least 50 of our 100 members and 100 organizations.”
2. Education and training
“The best roboticists in the world come from Pittsburgh universities, but many jobs in the industry do not require a four-year degree,” said the PRN. Local training programs can prepare people for careers in robotics in as little as 18 months. Discovery Day will present different paths and options to choose from, it added.
“This workforce development zone is a way for us to help expand the ecosystem and rely on existing partners that excel in education, training, or placement,” said Reed. “Educational institutions can help provide career pathways for the new economy.”
Attendees can meet and engage with people and organizations that can help them advance. Many STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs, entrepreneur bootcamps, and community and economic development initiatives will be presented to help job seekers reach their goals.
“In the Community zone, we're working with community organizations looking to serve underserved populations,” Reed said. “New PRN partnerships include some government-supported resources, many of which are state-related or nonprofits.”
Pittsburgh Robotics Network reaches out to the public
The event will be divided into two distinct segments: a daytime showcase from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET and a $25 ticketed Robo Happy Hour from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
The daytime showcase is intended for audiences of all ages who are interested in learning more about the Pittsburgh robotics community and engaging with it.
“The general public has a perception of what robots are, and having hands-on experience can clear up a lot of misunderstandings,” said Reed. “People will be able to talk to companies and find out whey they're building solutions across a wide variety of industries to help society.”
“Robots are smart machines that can work alongside humans, help them be productive, help businesses be more competitive, and solve complex issues,” he said.
Robo Happy Hour to help businesses network
The Robo Happy Hour is intended for businesses and technology professionals who seek to expand their networks and explore new opportunities within the Pittsburgh robotics ecosystem.
“It's more of an intimate way to talk to startup founders and less of an investor pitch event,” noted Reed.
“We expect a couple of thousand attendees during the day, and between 300 and 500 during the evening networking,” he said. “We expect this will be an annual event.”