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Carnegie Mellon-led nonprofit received $250 million to create a new robotics institute

The institute aims to help create 510,000 new jobs in 10 years.

S-Class Assembly At Mercedes-Benz Plant Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

A new nonprofit run by Carnegie Mellon University will receive more than $250 million for a new robotics institute in Pittsburgh dubbed the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute, or ARM, the university announced today.

The award is primarily funded by the Department of Defense, which gave $80 million toward the new center. Another $173 million came from undisclosed partner organizations. The university did not respond to a late request for information on the undisclosed donors.

The money will be used to research and develop robotic technologies in the area of manufacturing, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing and industrial robotics. The institute aims to help create 510,000 new manufacturing jobs in 10 years and find ways to use technology to increase worker productivity by 30 percent, according to ARM’s website.

The nonprofit will focus on manufacturing sectors that the institute says are best poised to use robotics, like the automotive, aerospace, electronics and textile industries.

Last November, over 150 experts from academia and industry published a significant paper, the U.S. Roadmap for Robotics, calling on Congress to allocate more federal funds for robotics research and to help ensure America remains a global leader in robotics and artificial intelligence, another stated aim of the new Carnegie Mellon institute.

Last month, the White House released a report noting that the U.S. will need to establish a stronger social safety net to help workers who will eventually be displaced by robots in the coming years. Automation has the potential to disrupt millions of American jobs, according to the White House’s assessment.

Earlier this week, Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar each donated $10 million to advance research in artificial intelligence via a fund that is being anchored by MIT’s Media Lab and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Carnegie Mellon is one of the most celebrated institutions for robotics in the country. In 2015, Uber raided the university’s robotics expertise; four professors and 36 researchers and technical staff left to work at the ride-hailing company’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. Uber later donated $5.5 million to the university to fund new faculty positions and graduate research.

The new $250 million award Carnegie Mellon received is likely the largest amount of money ever given to a university initiative for research on robotics.

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