Black in Robotics’ Ayanna Howard, Monroe Kennedy on diversity and inclusion

Published by the Robot Report

Authored by Steve Crowe
Welcome to Episode 16 of The Robot Report Podcast, which brings conversations with robotics innovators straight to you. Join us every Wednesday for discussions with leading roboticists, innovative robotics companies, and other key members of the robotics community.

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This week, we’re joined by Ayanna Howard and Monroe Kennedy III, academic co-leads of Black in Robotics, a new organization that, among other things, is advocating for more diversity and inclusion in the robotics community. Howard is chair of the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. She is also co-founder and chief technology officer at Zyrobotics.

Kennedy is an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. He also leads Stanfords’ Assistive Robotics and Manipulation laboratory.

They share their personal journeys, challenges they overcame throughout their careers, and what can be done to level the playing field for minorities in robotics and engineering fields. Howard shares an incident that took place at NASA during the 1990s, and we discuss how their upbringings impacted their career paths, who inspired them growing up, and much more.

We also preview this week’s RoboBusiness Direct discussion that airs September 18 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Ricardo Tellez, CEO of The Construct, will discuss how robotics developers can use ROS for Reproducible Robotics Results. Attendees will learn how the use of ROS, Gazebo simulator and the cloud can boost robotics development.

Eugene and I also discuss the latest headlines, including NVIDIA’s acquisition of Arm for $40 billion, Boston Dynamics expanding sales of its Spot quadruped, the 2020 U.S. Robotics Roadmap, and charges for the former Uber safety driver involved in the 2018 fatal autonomous vehicle accident.

If you would like to be a guest on an upcoming episode of the podcast, or if you have recommendations for future guests or segment ideas, contact Steve or Eugene. For sponsorship opportunities of The Robot Report Podcast, contact Courtney Nagle for more information.

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