Robotics Technology in Pittsburgh

Robotics Technology in Pittsburgh

Steel factories made Pittsburgh famous as the home of brawn and steel. But when the steel and manufacturing industries declined in the 1980s, the city turned to creativity and technology, and is now known as an innovative hub of robotics technology. A 1999 Wall Street Journal article dubbed the city "Roboburgh".

Universities helped shape the city's reputation in robotics. Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute was founded in 1979 and is widely considered one of the leading centers of robotics research in the world. At the University of Pittsburgh, engineering and computer science researchers continue to discover new uses of robotics.

Commercial and industrial use of robots is widespread. Robots are used in manufacturing, surgery, space exploration, national defense, transportation, and much more.

Pittsburgh has put robots to use cutting lawns in the Botanical Gardens, in art installations, and on factory floors.

Careers in Robotics Technology

The history of Pittsburgh and robotics technology goes back to 1926, when the Westinghouse Electric Company created the first robot to do work. The Televox robot monitored water pumps, opened windows and did other simple tasks on request.

Today, Pittsburgh companies like Applied Perception, which was founded by Carnegie Mellon students and is now part of technology firm Qinetiq, make unmanned vehicles that use the latest robotic and artifiical intelligence tools.

Careers in robotics include robotics engineers and robotics technicians.

Robotics engineers may come from mechanical, electrical, or computer engineering backgrounds. They specify the robot's functional requirements (what should it do? how should it behave?), design and test the different robot components, and integrate the components to produce the final design. They also evaluate the success of their design for cost, effectiveness, reliability and safety.

Robotics technicians build, install, test and maintain robotic equipment. Technicians can repair robots, disassemble or reassemble robotic equipment, use power or hand tools to align and fit robotic components, and even train robots using artificial intelligence software. They also assist robotics engineers in design, configuration or application of robotics.

Training in Robotics

Robotics draws from many fields, including computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interaction design.

For this reason, many robotics engineers and professionals hold advanced degrees in information technology and engineering, often with concentrations in design or even psychology.

Robotics technicians may only need an associate's degree and revelant work experience with new technologies. Many employers, however, prefer a bachelor's degree in a technology-related field such as software design or programming.

Featured Technology Schools

DeVry University
Associate, bachelor, and master's degrees in engineering and information sciences, including network administration and management, information systems security, and systems analysis and integration..

Bradford School
Programs in network management and computer programming

For more on the robotics industry, see's Industry Spotlight: Robotics.

Find technology schools in Pittsburgh.

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