Discovery day
Aethon's TUG autonomous mobile robot. Photo courtesy Business Wire.

For decades, the conventional wisdom was that robots, automation and artificial intelligence were coming for our jobs. (Even journalists aren’t safe — yikes). While robots haven’t fully integrated into our lives yet, the Pittsburgh Robotics Network wants you to be ready.

The organization is hosting its first-ever Discovery Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for job seekers, students, educators, tech professionals, investors and anyone who’s curious about robotics and AI.

All ages are invited to the free Discovery Day event that will showcase more than 100 Western Pennsylvania companies.

The Convention Center will be organized into three sections:

• Robots! — See the wide variety of robots being invented and developed by 100-plus robotics companies in the Pittsburgh region with hands-on demonstrations to help you understand their purpose and potential.

• Education & Training — Some of the best roboticists in the world come from universities right here in Pittsburgh, but you don’t need a four-year degree to work in the industry. Local training programs can get you career-ready in as little as 18 months.

• Community — Connect with STEM programs, entrepreneur boot camps, and community and economic development initiatives.

Afterward, there’s a Robo Happy Hour, a ticketed ($25) networking reception for tech pros in the automation ecosystem.

Sponsor a robot race car at MIT-PITT-RW

Photo courtesy of MIT-PITT-RW.

So the name MIT-PITT-RW doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it does roll down the track quite quickly.

Pitt students provide 35% of the brainpower for a collegiate robot race car team, along with students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), RW: Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Waterloo in Canada. In 2021, the team purchased a Dallara AV-21 (which looks like a driverless Formula 1 racer) and began building its autonomous software stack. The team seeks sponsors for its next round of events.

The team raced in the Indy Autonomous Challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (home of the Indy 500) in 2021, and competed in their second event this past January, doubling their top speed to 138 miles per hour.

The MIT-PITT-RW team is led by two women of color, a rarity in both STEM and motorsports.

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.