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Nurturing a Robust Startup Ecosystem in Autonomous Tech

A new study of the Pittsburgh region’s autonomous technology industry is creating a roadmap for a coordinated approach to success that balances the perspectives of an array of stakeholders.

The nine-month study, issued by RIDC and the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, features research from TEConomy Partners and was funded by the Richard King Mellon Foundation. Collaborators include Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, and the region’s top autonomous technology companies: Argo AI, Aurora, Carnegie Robotics, Motional, Seegrid, and Thoro.ai.

The study highlights recommendations related to government regulation, public funding strategies, manufacturing and public transit adoption of autonomous technologies. If the region captures just 1 percent of the industry’s projected global market, Pittsburgh stands to gain 5,000 jobs and a $10 billion economic impact.

Already, the region enjoys advantages such as locally grown research and development and the availability of large sites necessary for testing, manufacturing and deployment in the industry’s supply chain. To put Pittsburgh in a breakout position in this highly competitive autonomous systems space, regional leaders in the public and private sectors will next advance an economic development plan that finds common ground between civic and business needs.

By thinking proactively about the best way to fortify the region’s current advantages, the region will cement its status as the premier location for developing, testing and producing autonomous technologies, writes RIDC President Donald F. Smith, Jr.

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DoorDash To Launch Engineering Hub in Pittsburgh

DoorDash, the food delivery service that has become synonymous with convenience, is launching an engineering hub in Pittsburgh in early 2022.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said it plans to hire 50 people, including software engineers, to leverage the region’s tech talent pool.

“The city boasts a massive amount of both professional and new graduate talent, and we’re excited to become a key part of the local tech community,” the company said in a statement.

The newly formed team will be called Platform Evolution and will be charged with updating the software and technology platform that enables delivery orders and drop-offs. The company, which hopes to expand globally, plans to add to the Pittsburgh team.

Traffic on DoorDash has surged, with total orders up 69 percent and revenue up 83 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year.

The service has been in Pittsburgh since 2018.

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“Pittsburgh is the best place, certainly in the U.S. to bring an R&D dollar, and we hope to repay that tenfold.”

Chris Martin, director of research and development, Bosch Research and Technology Center, at the opening of Azena, a Bosch-owned startup focused on security camera applications

New Study, DoorDash Investment Fortify Region’s Tech Sector