By Lacey Kazior
As research and trial runs continue on autonomous vehicles, more and more companies are entering the race to create their very own self-driving car. Given that Uber, Carnegie Mellon University, and Delphi decided to bring their research to Pittsburgh, where they are surrounded with top notch technology resources, Pittsburgh’s reputation continues to grow as one of the most ideal locations to pursue the development of self-driving vehicles. “The U.S. Department of Transportation recently designated Pittsburgh as one of 10 testing grounds nationwide for autonomous vehicles.”
Teaming up with Pittsburgh start-up (led by two graduates of Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center), Argo AI, Ford has decided to invest $1billion over the next 5 years for them to develop their very own autonomous cars. Their hope is to develop the self-driving vehicle for production by 2021 with a plan to license the technology to others later. Pittsburgh’s Strip District will be the home to this new venture.
In order to make this happen, Argo AI will need to expand their work force. They plan to add approximately 200 jobs this year between their 3 engineering hubs in Pittsburgh, Michigan and California. Coordinating 200 new employees across 3 different states is a huge challenge, especially when the task at hand is highly challenging and you’re working for a company with a reputation like Ford’s. From the work of the actual engineers to the work of those behind the scenes in the offices, it’s of the upmost importance that processes are carried out correctly and efficiently. “Almost every manufacturing process has an engineer focused on improvements. Very few office processes have received that same kind of attention. 25% to 60% of costs in a typical manufacturer come from back office processes- 80% in some industries.” For a company like Argo AI, ensuring back office processes receive just as much love as the engineers is extremely important for their success. Catalyst Connection is offering a Lean Office training course April 4, 2017 that will take the principles of Lean Manufacturing and apply them to an office environment to identify and eliminate non-value added activities and ensure efficiency.
For more information or to sign up for Catalyst Connection’s Lean Office training, visit: http://catalystconnection.org/trainings/detail.php?19
For more information on Ford and Argo AI’s initiative, visit: http://www.nextpittsburgh.com/current-features/ford-invest-1-billion-pittsburghs-argo-ai-make-self-driving-cars/
Based in Pittsburgh, Catalyst Connection is an economic development organization dedicated to helping small manufacturers to improve their competitive performance. Catalyst advisors, consultants, and instructors offer training, consulting and administer financial programs that can provide funding for equipment, machinery, or capital improvements. As a nonprofit 501 (c)3 firm, the organization has been supporting Southwestern Pennsylvania manufacturers for more than 25 years. For more information call 1-888-887-7472 or go to www.catalystconnection.org.