What Sets Us Apart?
We produce a comprehensive suite of tools to enable partial or complete automation of aircraft. Our technology spans various scales from sub-meter to full-size aircraft.
We work with major stakeholders at the NSF, US Army, Navy, Air Force, DARPA and large defense contractors.
Our Intellectual Property includes a large body of software and designs of sensor suites that enable aircraft to be cognizant of the world in which they operate.
Successes To Date
In 2006 our team demonstrated the fastest flight to date of a helicopter operating close to wires, trees and buildings. In 2010, we demonstrated the first full-scale rotorcraft operating an autonomous mission such as required for medical evacuation. In this demonstration, our autonomous helicopter automatically surveyed an area, found an acceptable landing site, planned a safe path to this site and landed there, all without any operator intervention.
Near Earth creates cutting edge solutions for the aircraft of tomorrow through ambitious research programs. We expect to license technology to airframe manufacturers as well as Tier 1 avionics suppliers. Prototype sensor suites and software products will be available starting in 2015.
Sanjiv Singh, CEO & Co-Founder
Sanjiv leads the technical and business strategy for the company. He brings 25 years of experience in autonomous ground and air vehicles operating in extreme environments. Key area of his expertise are in perception and planning for air and ground vehicles. In addition, he specializes in the coordination of teams of (human and robotic) agents performing complex tasks. Sanjiv obtained his PhD in Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in 1995 and has since been on the faculty at the Robotics Institute. Sanjiv is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Field Robotics. Near Earth is his third commercial venture.
Lyle Chamberlain, Principal Mechanical Engineer & Co-Founder
Lyle is Lead for Flight Operations and Principal Mechanical Engineer, and a co-founder of Near Earth. He has over a decade of experience in field robotics implementation and test, with the majority of his work involving autonomous aircraft. Currently he oversees development of perception packages for full-scale vehicles, and leads the integration and test of these systems on multiple customer aircraft. Lyle graduated from Caltech in 2005 with a BS in Engineering and Applied Science, and worked for 8 years as engineering staff at the Carnegie Mellon Field Robotics Center. Away from work, Lyle participates in cross-country glider racing and aviation outreach in the community, flying his experimental-class glider in events and serving for several years as president of the Pittsburgh Soaring Club.
Marcel Bergerman, COO & Co-Founder
Marcel oversees the company's technical operation, including funding procurement, contracting, project management, and project retirement. Additionally, he leads the company's financial, human resources, and administrative operations. He obtained his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in 1996. He has has been on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon since 2007. Mr. Bergerman is also a co-founder of the GreenE Academy, a technology education venture that teaches programming and robotics to elementary and middle school children.
Sebastian Scherer, Senior Scientist & Co-Founder
Sebastian brings key technical expertise in perception and motion planning to the company. Sebastian has pushed the state of the art in intelligence for autonomous aerial vehicles in the last 10 years and has developed perception and motion planning algorithms that enable flight in unstructured and unknown environments.Currently, he leads projects in perception and planning for autonomous aircraft. Sebastian obtained his PhD in Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in 2010. He has been on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon since 2012.