Carnegie Robotics, Swift Navigation partner on precision GPS system |
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Aaron Aupperlee
Fergus Noble, left, CTO of Swift Navigation, and Chris Osterwood, CTO of Carnegie Robotics, pose for photos this week in San Francisco ahead of the announcement of a partnership between the two companies to create accurate, low-cost GPS systems for outdoor robotics for us in driving, farming, mining and other applications.

A Pittsburgh-San Francisco partnership could have a dramatic effect on the future of robotics designed to work outdoors.

Carnegie Robotics and Swift Navigation , a GPS startup company, announced Tuesday they will collaborate on products that will incorporate precise GPS systems into robotic vision and sensing equipment.

The partnership could drive down the cost of automation for cars, agriculture, surface mining and military applications, said Steve DiAntonio, CEO of Carnegie Robotics.

“It’s sort of a breakthrough on cost,” DiAntonio said. “We think that it will enable new robotics applications that could not be afforded before.”

Carnegie Robotics makes equipment to help robots see and sense where they are. Swift Navigation makes GPS systems that are accurate to within centimeters that help a robot determine its position. DiAntonio said both companies’ components are critical to successful automation.

“It just made infinite sense to work together to come up with a groundbreaking product,” DiAntonio said.

DiAntonio said Carnegie Robotics watched Swift Navigation develop and reached out to the company about a year ago to inquire about collaborating.

Carnegie Robotics and Swift Navigation will announce their first joint product May 8 at the Association of Unmanned Vehicles International Xponential 2017 conference in Dallas. DiAntonio wouldn’t reveal what it will be. He said Carnegie Robotics doesn’t currently sell a similar product.

“Swift’s technology is perfectly suited for the world of robotics, and we couldn’t do better than working with the renowned industry leaders at Carnegie Robotics,” Timothy Harris, CEO of Swift Navigation, said in a statement.

Swift Navigation was founded in 2012. The company released its latest GPS receiver, the Piksi Multi, in February. The system is accurate within centimeters and costs $595, according to the company’s webpage. The company uses real-time kinematics technology to provide locations that are 100 times more accurate than traditional GPS systems.

Carnegie Robotics, founded in 2010, was spun out of Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center. The company partnered with the Danish floor-cleaning company Nilfisk in October on an autonomous floor scrubber .

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach Aupperlee at [email protected] or 412-336-8448.

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