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What Pittsburgh Means for Self-Driving Technology

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Pittsburgh has been called many things — The Steel City, City of Champions, City of Bridges, The Capital of Work. A newer name, one we’ve become particularly fond of, is Roboburgh. Yet, no matter what you call it, Pittsburgh has always been an epicenter for innovation, with an incredible workforce possessing the talent, grit and determination to take an idea and turn it into reality.

For decades, Pittsburgh supplied the vast majority of our nation’s steel — an industry that grew from 380,000 tons annually in 1875 to 60 million tons by 1920. In building this empire, Andrew Carnegie asserted an innate ability to identify a new technology and make it work in the real world — achieving mass production at an unprecedented scale. And the enterprising newcomers who arrived to this area looking for good-paying jobs played an integral role in creating that success.

People in Pittsburgh have always known how to build things, things that helped to build a nation — bridges, railroads, highways, buildings. The very infrastructure that enables us to move around, which we tend to take for granted, would not be possible if it weren’t for the tremendous efforts, vision and talent the people of Pittsburgh have always brought to their work.

When de-industrialization hit cities across the United States and the steel industry went into decline, Pittsburgh had to go in search of a new identity. Fortunately, the seeds of innovation from early philanthropic efforts meant it didn’t have to go far. Founded in 1900, Carnegie Technical Schools is now Carnegie Mellon University, home to the world-class Robotics Institute. This region now boasts more than 68 institutions of higher learning, including the University of Pittsburgh and its renowned medical center.

Western Pennsylvania recruits talent from all over the world, as the education community here provides a haven for entrepreneurs to test out new ideas in the hope one might someday change the world. Pittsburgh is the place to grow ideas into working prototypes and proofs of concept. Once again, what’s driving this innovation is people. Our ecosystem supports an established base of talent and a soaring reputation that continues to attract new talent. People come here and want to stay, underpinning our economic development in the process.

Just as Carnegie’s steel empire transformed a country’s infrastructure, a new generation in Pittsburgh is working to transform traditional industries such as transportation, automotive, medicine and other fields. We are software engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, data scientists, computer scientists, roboticists — all working with our hands and with the knowledge necessary to apply new science, like artificial intelligence, to solve really hard problems, particularly in the realm of mobility.

I came to Pittsburgh 20 years ago to attend the University of Pittsburgh and fell in love with this place. So when we founded Argo AI, we knew our headquarters would be based here, and we’re embracing this new generation of engineers and scientists who are both discovering the city’s energy and fueling it. Retaining this pool of top-notch talent is vitally important as we collaborate with world-class universities to ensure our great ideas and innovations will support our mission to provide affordable mobility for all.

I’m excited to announce the headquarters for Argo AI will be based in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. We’re quickly growing our team and expect to be moving into our new engineering center in the coming month. We are also aggressively recruiting for teams to be based in Southeast Michigan and the Bay Area of California and we look forward to embracing those communities as well.

Just as Pittsburgh, and this neighborhood in particular, played a significant role in rolling out the infrastructure of this country, I expect it will again play a major role in the automation of the automotive industry and beyond.

Pittsburgh has been voted the most livable city six times since 2000, and it’s no secret why. Living, working and playing here is incredible. We’re energized by the passion and commitment of this community — especially that of city officials and the current administration — and we’re truly excited for what we will build together.

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