PITTSBURGH, PA – February 6, 2009 – The nation’s most prestigious organization of engineering experts today announced the election of Dr. William “Red” Whittaker to its ranks. The National Academy of Engineering honored Dr. Whittaker, the chairman and chief technical officer of Astrobotic Technology Inc., for “pioneering contributions to fielded, mobile, autonomous robots.”
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C., provide impartial review and advice on important issues to Congress and the Administration.
Dr. Whittaker is founder of the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon University and is directing the development of Astrobotic’s first lunar robot, which has been undergoing field trials for several months. The company’s first mission, to win the $20 million Google Lunar X prize and visit the Apollo 11 landing site with HD video, is set for December 2010.
Astrobotic is collaborating with Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, which is adapting many of its existing robotic vision, navigation and locomotion technologies to the lunar challenge.
Among the other 64 experts announced today as new members of the Academy was Sergey Brin, president of technology at Google Inc.
Dr. Whittaker is known widely for his role in designing a driverless SUV that bested 35 other teams in winning the 2007 Urban Challenge $2 million prize in 2007, a contest sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.