Larry Sweet Elected to Robotics Industries Association Board of Directors

The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) recently announced its new board members, including the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machine’s (IRIM) Larry Sweet.

As the only academic on the board, Sweet joins 14 other members from industry—composed of senior executives, integrators, and major end users—and RIA’s President Jeff Burnstein.

Founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1974, RIA is the only trade group in North America organized specifically to serve the robotics industry

Sweet is the associate director of technology transition for IRIM and a professor of the practice in the School of Interactive Computing. He leads the Collaborative & Advanced Robotic Manufacturing Lab, a technology transition venture between Georgia Tech researchers and industry. The lab focuses on developing collaborative and advanced robotic manufacturing technologies with potential for successful industrial deployment.

“I am very pleased the RIA elected Larry to its advisory board. He will offer a wealth of knowledge to the organization,” said Magnus Egerstedt, the executive director of IRIM. “Larry has an extensive background in industry research; his election reflects highly on both his and IRIM’s reputation in the robotics community.”

Sweet came to Georgia Tech in fall 2015, after an extensive career in the robotics industry. He has held various executive positions, most recently as chief technology officer at Symbotic, where he led the conceptualization, design, and implementation of transformational warehouse automation technology.

During his time at Symbotic, Sweet was recognized for his achievements with numerous awards, including the 2013 Edison Award for Productivity and the 2015 Manufacturing Leadership Supply Chain High Achiever Award.

In accepting the position with RIA, Sweet outlined his main focus. “The next decade has the potential to see a significant increase in the deployment rate of robots—not only those that co-locate but also truly collaborate with human workers—across manufacturing, logistics, and service sectors. They will be driven by new technologies in perception, control, autonomy, and mobility,” he said. “While the U.S. has a strong base of research in universities and startups, we need much more effective technology transfer to assure competitiveness for both domestic manufacturing and the RIA vendor base.”

Sweet’s other industry experience includes serving as senior vice president of technology for ABB Industrial and Building Systems, vice president of Fanuc Computer Numerical Controls, manager of GE Automation and Artificial Intelligence research, and senior vice president of operations for United Technologies and PepsiCo, where he received IndustryWeek’s “Top 10 Plants in North America” award.

Prior to his successful career in the automation industry, Sweet was a tenured faculty member at Princeton University, where he received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in addition to other awards.

Sweet received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from MIT, and a B.S from the University of California, Berkeley.

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