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Pittsburgh Power Moves: Obama’s modern work doc on Netflix peeks inside Aurora

Plus, the ARM Institute's team got bigger, and KEF Robotics secured another partnership.

Aurora CEO Chris Urmson (left) in Netflix's "Working." (Screenshot via YouTube)
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 is featured in ‘Working’

Typically, you have to venture to the Strip District to gain a peek under the hood of what Aurora is working on.

However, thanks to “Working: What We Do All Day,” a Barack Obama-fronted Netflix docuseries that explores what modern work means for Americans, viewers can get a look at what it’s like to work for the company — both as a mid-level technologist and as the top executive — as well as some insight into the hopes and fears surrounding its autonomous trucking technology.

While cofounder and CEO Chris Urmson acknowledges in the documentary that perhaps right now isn’t the best time to become a trucker, he attributed that to the natural passage of time as opposed to the technology being designed to take jobs away from workers. He expects the outcome will be that trucking will become an overall safer enterprise thanks to autonomous driving tech.

“There will be jobs that go away, in the way that there’s way fewer saddle makers today than there was a hundred years ago, but I think we will look back 50 years from now and say, ‘That was a net win for safety, it was a huge win for efficiency,'” Urmson said in the doc. “Those are huge things in a company that aspires to transform something so important as transportation.”

Watch the trailer here:

ARM Institute has a new chief business development officer

The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute ended June by expanding its staff.

Jason Gilligan. (Courtesy photo)

Jason Gilligan is joining the organization as its new chief business development officer after spending the past six years at Gentex Corp., where he worked as the protective gear company’s director of business development in its aircrew systems department. He brings experience in defense, commercial, and government contracting and funding.

In his new capacity, Gilligan will be responsible for securing new business opportunities for the institute.

KEF has a new partnership

KEF Robotics has entered into a strategic partnership with Auterion Government Solutions, the California-based maker of a software platform for robotics and autonomous systems. The two companies have combined their respective technologies to enhance autonomous systems for government applications: Through the partnership, KEF Robotics’s autonomy solution, Tailwind, has been integrated into the AuterionOS operating platform.

Over the past few years, the Larimer-based KEF has had its share of wins, from Department of Defense grants to being a finalist in Lockheed Martin’s AlphaPilot drone competition. What makes this particular partnership different, per the company, is that it’s seeking to address longstanding challenges that government customers encounter in the way of defense, security, disaster response and infrastructure management.

Financial details were not disclosed.

A KEF Robotics drone. Courtesy photo.

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 / KEF Robotics / Aurora
Series: Power Moves
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