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Dr. Amanda Sgroi, Principal Research Scientist, earned her M.S. and Ph.D. at Notre Dame, and completed her undergraduate work at Duquesne University. She is leading RE2’s machine learning and computer vision efforts.

What are you currently working on at RE2?

Currently, my main focus is on computer vision and autonomy. I’m also contributing to some other programs related to machine perception and am helping with business development efforts on new programs that will help us expand our computer vision and machine learning tools. 

How and why did you first become interested in robotics?

My desire to work on an effort that had a physical component, rather than software alone, was my biggest driver towards robotics. It’s one thing to see what you’ve developed in simulation, but I find it much more rewarding to see my efforts impact the physical world. 

What is a typical day for you like at RE2?

Most days are split between development, research, and management. I’m an early riser, and like to dig into my development tasks early before core hours where more management tasks and discussion occur. Research is an ongoing task, and I have several living documents where I add notes on papers read or hardware investigated each day. 

What do you enjoy the most about the science of robotics? 

I love that everyone is excited about tackling new, unsolved problems. For example, in perception, when we solve something indoors, we then want to go outside, then underground, then underwater, and then to maybe space! Simply changing the location of your solution creates new problems for the task at hand and no one is scared to go there. 

In terms of the industry at large, what excites you the most about the future of robotics?

The push towards full autonomy in robotics is really exciting right now, and we see this playing out here in Pittsburgh and at RE2. The move from teleoperated to semi-autonomous and eventually full autonomous robotics creates new and interesting challenges in perception and sensing, and solving those types of problems in one area can have an impact on other areas as well. 

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time I like to read, run, and travel. I’m currently reading Armada by Ernest Cline. If you saw the movie or read Ready, Player One, you’ll really enjoy this book by the same author. Training has already started for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, which will be my fifth half marathon. And my next trips planned are to Las Vegas and the Florida Keys.

 

Learn more about our Research & Development efforts.