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IEEE and the Tepper School Examine Their Role in Robotics, Standards and Industry Applications

The continued expansion of robotic applications in fields including health care, energy, agriculture, defense and manufacturing is creating new opportunities for technology in the marketplace and new challenges for engineers, designers and entrepreneurs. 

MBA students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business worked with CMU’s Robotics Institute, experts from IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization, and industry stakeholders to analyze critical steps in the robot design process and how establishing standards, best practices and access to data can help boost the transfer of technology into the marketplace. This project, closely aligned with IEEE’s mission of “Advancing Technology for Humanity,” supported a graduate level course in marketing.

“Our students examined the role of engineers throughout the development process of new robotic technologies, from concept to production. This included an assessment of the major process challenges that engineers face, identifying sources of information and data that are currently available and pinpointing unmet needs,” said John Mather, head of the master’s degree program and professor of marketing.  “Focused on key transfer phases in the robot design process, the students surveyed robotics engineers, scientists and researchers to determine the potential benefits of standardization and increased access to shared data and best practices.” 

“Carnegie Mellon University has proven to be an exceptional partner on this project” said David Goldstein, Lead Director of New Product Development for IEEE.

“They were able to combine a strong fundamental discipline in business and marketing with technology and leading experts at the Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center.  Their work has enabled IEEE to better understand opportunities for our organization in providing valuable insights, products and services to the evolving robotics industry,” added Sandeep Sharma, Senior Manager of New Product Development for IEEE.

Students found that much of robotics development is conducted in isolation, similar to many other major industries during the early phases before wider adoption and mass production. This presents a great need for standardization. While there are currently recommendations from the government advising designers to support compatibility, these are the precursors to standardization, an area in which IEEE plays a major role. As the industry continues to grow, so too will the need for emerging standards.

The IEEE/Tepper Marketing Course Project is one of several programs offered as part of the business education curriculum at the Tepper School of Business, which enable students to work on real-world business challenges in conjunction with outstanding companies and organizations like IEEE.