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Field Robotics Center (FRC)
FRC
The Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890
Center Homepage
This page last updated - February 2013.
News and Media
 
Girls of Steel Team Helps Construct Autodesk Robot
April 23, 2014. The robot-development skills of the Girls of Steel, a team of high-school-age girls from the Pittsburgh area, are being tested at the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship, April 23-26 in St. Louis, Mo. Several team members, however, already have put those skills to practical use in helping to build a robot for Autodesk, a leader in 3D design software.
Astrobotic Qualifies for Milestone Funding From Google Lunar XPRIZE
February 19, 2014. Astrobotic Technology, which is attempting to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, has qualified for Milestone Prizes offered by the XPRIZE organization, which could net the team up to $1.75 million for reaching its objectives in three categories – Landing, Mobility, and Imaging. CMU will lead the effort in the Mobility category, which will demonstrate that the rover can survive the vacuum and extreme cold of the Moon, as well as show that it can complete and document a 500-meter traverse on the lunar surface.
Curiosity Completes Two-Day Drive Using CMU Navigation Software
October 31, 2013. Using autonomous navigation software first developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity this week completed its first two-day autonomous drive, a new technique that enables the mobile laboratory to cover ground faster.
CMU Receives $7 Million for National Robotics Initiative Projects
October 24, 2013. Robotic rotorcraft for inspecting bridges and other infrastructure, tools for minimally invasive surgery that guide surgeons by creating 3D maps of internal organs and assistive robots for blind travelers are among seven new Carnegie Mellon University research projects sponsored through the National Robotics Initiative.
Popular Mechanics Names RI’s Michael Among “Innovators Who Changed the World”
October 14, 2013. Nathan Michael, assistant research professor of robotics, was part of a team at Penn cited by Popular Mechanics as one of “Ten Innovators Who Changed The World in 2013.” The Penn team, led by Vijay Kumar, is developing tiny quadrotors that can autonomously fly in squadrons to map and assess dangerously compromised buildings.
Zoë Returns To Atacama On NASA Mission To Search for Subsurface Life
June 11, 2013. The autonomous, solar-powered Zoë, which became the first robot to map microbial life during a 2005 field expedition in Chile’s Atacama Desert, is heading back to the world’s driest desert this month on a NASA astrobiology mission led by Carnegie Mellon University and the SETI Institute. This time, Zoë is equipped with a one-meter drill to search for subsurface life.
“Girl of Steel” Wins Dean’s List Honor at FIRST Championship
May 03, 2013. Naoka Gunawardena, a junior at The Ellis School and a member of the Girls of Steel, a robotics team sponsored by the Field Robotics Center, was one of 10 national winners of Dean’s List honors at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition Championship April 27 in St. Louis.
Whittaker Talks Driverless Cars
April 04, 2013. William “Red” Whittaker, professor of robotics, talked with the Big Picture Science radio show about driverless cars. Listen to his interview about the technology and where it is taking us. Whittaker is a pioneer of autonomous navigation and led Carnegie Mellon's victorious Tartan Racing Team in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge robot race.
Whittaker Leads NASA Study to Keep Planetary Rovers Rolling
February 14, 2013. William “Red” Whittaker, director of Carnegie Mellon’s Field Robotics Center and CEO of Astrobotic Technology Inc., will lead a NASA-funded study to figure out how robots such as the Mars rover Curiosity can avoid getting stuck in sinking sand or similarly hazardous terrain.
CMU To Develop Robots for Anglo American PLC
January 09, 2013. Carnegie Mellon University has signed a five-year master agreement with one of the world’s largest mining companies, London-based Anglo American PLC, to develop robotic technologies for mining.
Astrobotic Technology Assembles Prototype of Lunar Water-Prospecting Robot
October 08, 2012. Astrobotic Technology Inc. has completed assembly of a full-size prototype of Polaris, a solar-powered robot that will search for potentially rich deposits of water ice at the moon’s poles. The first of its kind, Polaris can accommodate a drill to bore one meter into the lunar surface and can operate in a lunar regions characterized by dark, long shadows and a sun that hugs the horizon. Astrobotic, a Robotics Institute spinoff that develops robotics technology for planetary missions, is developing Polaris for an expedition to the moon’s northern pole.
RI Software Helps Guide Curiosity Rover
August 09, 2012. Now that NASA has successfully landed its Curiosity rover on Mars, a version of Carnegie Mellon University navigation software will help guide the robot during its mission to determine if Mars ever could have supported life. The software is a version of Field D*, which was first developed at the Robotics Institute in 2000 by Tony Stentz, now director of the National Robotics Engineering Center. Stentz will discuss CMU's contributions to the mission on KDKA-TV's "Sunday Business Page" at 6:30 a.m. Aug. 12.
Red Whittaker To Receive IEEE Simon Ramo Medal
June 22, 2012. William “Red” Whittaker, who has repeatedly developed robots to work in such inhospitable places as contaminated nuclear plants, abandoned mines, active volcanoes, Antarctic glaciers and the moon, has been awarded the 2012 Simon Ramo Medal by IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization.
Scarab demonstrates new fuel cell
March 02, 2012. NASA's Glenn Research Center used the Scarab robot developed by the Robotics Institute to demonstrate a new fuel cell for the first time outside of a laboratory setting. The new type of fuel cell will extend the range of surface operations for rovers that will explore new worlds as part of future NASA missions.
Whittaker To Receive AAAI Feigenbaum Prize
June 06, 2011. William “Red” Whittaker’s contributions to the field of artificial intelligence through innovation and achievement in autonomous vehicle research, as signified by his team’s victory in the 2007 Urban Challenge robot race, have won him a share of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence’s (AAAI) inaugural Feigenbaum Prize.
Astrobotic Signs Contract for SpaceX to Launch Robot to Moon
February 07, 2011. Astrobotic Technology Inc., the Carnegie Mellon University spin-off headed by William “Red” Whittaker, has signed a contract with SpaceX to launch Astrobotic’s exploration robot to the Moon atop one of the company’s Falcon 9 boosters. The mission could launch as soon as December 2013.
NASA Delivers $500,000 to Astrobotic Technology for Moon Mission
December 21, 2010. Carnegie Mellon University spin-out Astrobotic Technology has received the first $500,000 task order from the $10 million contract that NASA awarded the company in October. The order will help the company design, build and test the primary structure for its lunar lander.
Google Robot Car Project Involves Large CMU Contingent
October 20, 2010. Google Inc.'s autonomous vehicle project has achieved a milestone for self-driving vehicles, with eight cars logging more than 140,000 miles on public roads with minimal human input. Current and former Carnegie Mellon students, faculty and staff have made large contributions as part of the Google team.
Piasecki-RI Team Demonstrates Autonomous Helicopter Operations
July 06, 2010. Piasecki Aircraft Corp. and Carnegie Mellon University have developed and flight demonstrated a navigation/sensor system that enables full-size, autonomous helicopters to fly at low altitude while avoiding obstacles; evaluate and select suitable landing sites in unmapped terrain; and land safely using a self-generated approach path. Autonomous flight at low altitude and landing zone evaluation/selection is an unprecedented feat with a full-size helicopter.
Scarab Featured at NASA Day
June 24, 2010. The Robotics Institute's Dom Jonak and David Kohanbash took Scarab to Washington, D.C., June 23 to participate in NASA Day on the Hill. The NASA-sponsored robot is designed to test robot designs and components that might be used to prospect for ice and other resources on the moon.
Robotics Institute Alum Helps NASA Make Rovers Smarter
March 31, 2010. David Thompson, who earned his PhD in Robotics in 2008, was part of a team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that developed software enabling the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity to make some decisions about which rocks to study.
Carnegie Mellon Developing Automated Systems To Enable Precision Farming of Apples, Oranges
November 19, 2008. Two groups of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have received a total of $10 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to build automated farming systems.
RI Seminar: Sebastian Scherer
Toward Autonomous Rotorcraft
April 28, 2014 - Length: 49:16
Science on the Fly
The next generation of rovers will conduct autonomous science surveys and adapt their investigation on the fly.
March 31, 2010 - Length: 3:12
RI Seminar: Red Whittaker
Robots at Work
October 24, 2008 - Length: 80:00
Electric Cable Differential (ECD) Leg
Jonathan Hurst's Electric Cable Differential (ECD) Leg demo.
October 01, 2008 - Length: 01:20
Scarab
Scarab proves itself on Earth before being sent to the moon.
August 13, 2008 - Length: 01:15