CRL was founded in 2010 to design, produce and field robotic technologies for real-world applications. As a spinout of Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), CRL’s founders partnered with researchers in advanced field robotics, machine vision and autonomy. Adding rigorous engineering, testing, manufacturing and support, CRL established core competencies critical to robust sensors, software and components of robotic systems.
John Bares, President and CEO of Carnegie Robotics
John Bares has over 30 years leading teams to develop robotic and sensor systems for a multitude of harsh environments. Bares worked for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan prior to joining the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University in 1994. At Carnegie Mellon, he first led a program to develop a walking robot, Dante II, that descended into and successfully explored the inner crater of an Alaskan volcano. In 1997 he assumed the Directorship of the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC). In addition to his duties as director, Bares headed the organization’s largest unmanned vehicle design programs, and established the developmental engineering processes and program management structure necessary to deliver a series of 9-ton hybrid electric high-mobility systems to the DoD on-time and on-budget. The Autonomous Platform Demonstrator (APD) is the third in this series of robots, all of which were delivered at TRL 6 or 7. After just 14-months of development, APD rolled out in 2009, demonstrating extreme off-road mobility while meeting the program’s primary metric of driving on-road at 80 kph—an unprecedented speed for a robotic skid-steered vehicle. At NREC his teams also developed automated earthmoving machines and award-winning robots to remove paint from the hulls of large ships using ultra-high pressure water. The paint stripping systems are now the world standard for high production, environmentally friendly ship hull surface preparation. Bares was also instrumental in creating the “Robotics Academy” which educates K-12 students and teachers with multimedia curricula, camps, teacher seminars, outreach programs, and competitions.
Bares took a leave from Carnegie Mellon in 2010 to found Carnegie Robotics (CRL). In 2015 Bares stepped aside from CRL to be the founding Director of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center with the challenge of putting self-driving cars on the road in less than two years. Uber subsequently launched its self-driving passenger service in September of 2016, just 20 months after founding the Center. The Uber mission and accomplishments grew rapidly with the fleet reaching 1,000,000 self-driving miles in August, 2017, after just 32 months. In 2017, Bares returned to CRL to continue work there directing the organization and its focus on commercial sensing and robotics products.
Bares received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1991 and holds multiple U.S. patents. He has received honors including the 2010 National Defense Industry Association Ground Robotics Technology Innovator of the Year award.
Brian Beyer, Executive Vice President
Brian Beyer joined CRL in 2011 as a Senior Engineer and assumed program management responsibilities soon after arriving. He led the effort to win the $23M AMDS contract in 2014, and served as the AMDS Program Manager through the first two years of the program. Beyer captured and led the precursor contract to AMDS while also directing much of the requirements definition, system design and fielding support for the Rowbot development and Strawberry Sorter project. Prior to joining CRL, Beyer worked for Applied Research Associates and Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center. Beyer is an infantryman with 13 years of service in both the US Marine Corps and Army National Guard. His active duty Marine Corps service included participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a sergeant in 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines. His undergraduate degree is from the University of South Carolina.
David LaRose, Chief Scientist
David LaRose has over 25 years of experience in robotics and computer vision, and a 17-year history of collaboration with CRL CEO John Bares. In addition to his current work at CRL, he has successfully commercialized technologies in the biomedical, environmental, military, energy, and agricultural markets. His inventions have been used in hundreds of operating rooms worldwide during fluoroscopic and orthopedic procedures, in biotech labs for computer-vision-based drug discovery, in active coal mines to predict conveyor belt failures, and in self-driving cars as part of the world’s first commercially deployed autonomous transportation services fleet. Prior to co-founding Carnegie Robotics, Dr. LaRose worked at Carnegie Mellon University, where his research led to the successful commercialization of systems ranging from an automated seedling inspection system for use in commercial farming to an award-winning robotic hydroblasting robotic system that safely removes toxic paint from the hulls of large ships using high-pressure water. In 2015, he joined John Bares to help stand up Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, returning to CRL as Chief Scientist in early 2017.
Dr. LaRose holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University. He holds multiple US and international patents for inventions currently in use in the medical devices, biotech, and automotive industries, and has a strong track record of delivering working systems based on cutting-edge technology.
Ken Carmichael, Vice President of Manufacturing
Ken Carmichael took on the role of developing manufacturing at Carnegie Robotics in June 2015. Under his leadership, CRL has seen dramatic improvements in production capabilities, including supply chain management, inventory control, production planning, and Lean Manufacturing. A problem solver and team builder, Ken comes with a strong background in Lean Manufacturing, having established himself in the automotive industry as a champion of Lean Thinking. Ken was part of a team that transformed a century-old manufacturer into a best-in-class supplier of precision machine products to Toyota, Ford, and General Motors. Sought after for his 25 years of engineering, manufacturing and leadership success, Ken operates by the core principle that “the right process produces the right results,” and is deeply committed to continuous improvement, both professionally and personally. Ken has an engineering degree from State University College at Buffalo.
Louisa Michaels, Controller & Secretary of the Board
Louisa Michaels oversees Finance and Human Resources for Carnegie Robotics. Prior to CRL, she worked as a bookkeeper and program manager for businesses and nonprofits in Boston and San Francisco. Louisa oversees the accounting operations at CRL, including financial reporting, assisting in formulating bids, supporting project budget tracking, and implementing the company's DCAA-compliant financial system. In her role as Controller, Louisa attends to the minute details and the big picture of mitigating financial risk. She works on financial strategies with others in the leadership team and has won hundreds of thousands of dollars of R&D tax credits for CRL at the State and Federal level. Louisa holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a Master’s degree from UC Davis.