Professional Development
Autonomous tech / Transportation

Power Moves: Meet Aurora’s first-ever chief safety officer

Plus, CMU celebrates an Apple Scholar, and the ARM Institute makes a director-level hire.

Aurora Chief Safety Officer Nat Beuse. (Courtesy photo)
Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, gig or promotion? Email us: pittsburgh@technical.ly.

Aurora Innovation is introducing its first-ever chief strategy officer: Nat Beuse.

The technology expert will focus on — you guessed it — safety as the Strip District-based company further develops its autonomous vehicle tech ahead of commercial launch. According to a statement from the company, Beuse will answer to CEO Chris Urmson and play a hands-on role in establishing and managing the company’s corporate safety strategies and policies.

Per a Pew Research Center poll, as of 2022, 44% of Americans feel driverless cars are a “bad idea,” with nearly half of the public not on board yet. Investing in safety measures is a way to gain the public’s confidence before the company’s autonomous semitrucks are on the market.

Beuse’s resume includes tenure as VP of safety for Aurora, head of safety for Uber ATG, and he’s a board member for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Adding a chief safety officer to the fold aligns with Aurora’s goal of closing the Aurora Driver Safety Case, or the company’s case for why its tech is ready for the road.

“The current state of safety on our roads is unacceptable, and I firmly believe autonomous vehicles will help save lives and significantly reduce vehicle collisions,” Beuse said in a statement. “We’re committed to setting a high bar for our industry by prioritizing a safety approach with responsibility and transparency at the forefront.”

A CMU Apple Scholar

So Yeon (Tiffany) Min. (Photo via CMU)

Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science is celebrating one of its machine learning students who was named a 2023 Apple Scholar.

Apple Scholars are Ph.D. students who have shown “innovative research, record as thought leaders and collaborators, and commitment to advancing their respective fields,” per Apple.

One of this year’s 22 scholars comes from CMU. So Yeon (Tiffany) Min is a third-year doctoral student in the university’s Machine Learning Department and was selected due to her research in embodied AI. She is also “interested in creating robust multimodal spatial representations and deploying robots for real-world impact,” according to CMU.

As an Apple scholar, Min will receive funding to go toward completing her doctorate and fulfilling internship opportunities. She will also have the chance to be mentioned by an Apple researcher.

ARM Institute’s new director of engineering

The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, the research institute and robotics training org based at Mill 19, has hired Larry Sweet as its new director of engineering. Sweet comes from the world of academia and commercial organizations, where he gained recognition for his expertise in robotics and automation, including at Amazon.

In his new position, Sweet will be responsible for developing the institute’s engineering activities, securing engineering projects, and growing the engineering team. Additionally, Sweet will play an active role in transitioning the institute’s technologies into the industry by collaborating with stakeholders to secure funding and expand partnerships.

ARM Institute Chief Technology Officer Chuck Brandt said in an announcement that he believes Sweet will be able to direct and grow the ARM Institute’s robotics engineering capabilities.

“His expertise across a broad spectrum of robotics manufacturing applications and solutions will be invaluable to our consortium members, projects, and future opportunities,” Brant said.

More Pittsburgh leadership changes and kudos

  • GrayMatter announced a partnership with the Chicago-based Network Perception to help their customers comply with national cybersecurity objectives.
  • Etsy’s new director of engineering for seller tools is Amazon’s former site lead at the company’s Pittsburgh corporate offices.
  • Glen Lake Pioneering moved to InnovatePGH’s former coworking space in Oakland.
Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute / Aurora / Carnegie Mellon University
Series: Power Moves

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