On January 13, 2017, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Mr Frank Kendall, recalled to his audience in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes a radio report he’d heard recently about pilots, in which a career pilot spoke about the best qualities in truly good pilots. “If you get in trouble in your airplane,” Kendall quoted, “real pilots keep flying until the last second.” In keeping with this philosophy of perpetual grit, Under Secretary Kendall announced only a week prior to his departure from public office that the Department of Defense’s 8th Manufacturing USA institute, The Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Innovation Hub, would be awarded to American Robotics, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based public-private partnership led by Carnegie Mellon University.
“Advanced Robotics,” Kendall urged, “represents a potentially game-changing technology that can address present and future challenges on multiple DoD platforms.” As he addressed the room, he also regarded the Medals of Honor displayed on the walls of the aptly named “Hall of Heroes,” most of which are awarded posthumously. He reminded the announcement’s attendees that, ultimately, every effort put forth by the Department of Defense (DoD) aims at “having fewer names on these walls, so people don’t have to go and sacrifice themselves to preserve our freedom nearly as much.” The Manufacturing USA institutes support the Warfighter by supporting a more nimble and innovative manufacturing base and developing advancing manufacturing technology and the workforce to support those technologies.
ARM is the 14th Manufacturing USA institute, and the 8th to be led by the DoD. The newest institute aims to integrate the knowledge and practices of a multitude of industrial disciplines – including aerospace, electronics, and fulfillment & logistics –to advance American manufacturing innovation by evolving existing robotic technologies such as collaborative robotics, robot control (learning, adaptation and repurposing), dexterous manipulation, autonomous navigation and mobility, perception and sensing, testing, verification, and validation. ARM plans to make advanced robotics more accessible, particularly to small and medium-sized enterprises, which are often unable to benefit from robotic technology due to the expense and complexity of use. Long-term, ARM’s members plan to ensure American workers are able to compete with low-wage workers abroad, provide new jobs in robotics, and promote American leadership in advanced manufacturing.
You can view video of the award announcement on defense.gov.
Please visit the Manufacturing USA network website for more information on the program.