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Sept. 5: Carnegie Mellon, Caterpillar Sign Research Agreement


Byron Spice
Carnegie Mellon University

Anne Watzman
Carnegie Mellon University

Deborah A. Lewellyn
Caterpillar Inc.

Carnegie Mellon, Caterpillar Sign Research Agreement

Manufacturer To Establish Development Office in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University and Caterpillar Inc., the world's leading manufacturer of construction, mining and other heavy equipment, have signed a three-year master agreement for sponsored research.

Initial projects involve work at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood. That research will include applications using advanced outdoor sensors, operator-assist systems and increased autonomous capabilities for enhancing the safety and productivity of the Caterpillar product line.

Caterpillar, based in Peoria, Ill., also plans to establish a Center of Excellence for Field Robotics and Automation in Pittsburgh. The research and development office will work in close collaboration with Carnegie Mellon researchers and pursue independent research projects.

NREC Director John Bares said he anticipates the Caterpillar work will allow for the hiring of additional staff members. More importantly, the collaboration with Caterpillar should strengthen the knowledge base of both organizations.

"This working relationship exposes Carnegie Mellon researchers to the rigors of applied science and engineering, and to leading-edge automation challenges," Bares explained. "We're confident that it also will provide Caterpillar with access to some of the best minds in the business."

In the past, Caterpillar has sponsored major projects at Carnegie Mellon in both robotics and machine translation. Since 2003, it has been a steadfast sponsor of the university's entries in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Grand Challenge robot competitions. That commitment continues this year, with Caterpillar one of the main sponsors of Tartan Racing's Boss, the self-driving Chevy Tahoe that is a semifinalist for this fall's $2 million DARPA Urban Challenge.

The three-year master research agreement took effect June 1.