Argo AI Leads Fundraising Effort to Return FIRST Robotics Competition to Downtown Pittsburgh

Three participants of the 2022 FIRST Robotics Greater Pittsburgh Regional Challenge watch a match underway

Self-driving technology company pledges up to $150,000 on way to $500,000 goal

PITTSBURGH, PA — Argo AI, the global autonomy products and services company founded and headquartered in Pittsburgh, announces a pledge of up to $150,000 leading a fundraising effort to return the 2022 FIRST Robotics Greater Pittsburgh Regional Competition to the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, beginning in 2023.

“FIRST Robotics does an incredible job in providing STEM education to students across the country, which plays a significant role in the growth and success of the robotics industry,” said Bryan Salesky, Founder and CEO of Argo AI. “Pittsburgh is considered the Robotics Capital of the World because it’s home to many companies that are driving the industry forward. Moving the FIRST regional competition downtown will not only showcase the city and all its robotics opportunities to the next generation of technology leaders, it will also have the added benefit of supporting local businesses.”

The FIRST Greater Pittsburgh Regional competition — which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year — is a 4-day event that brings high school students to compete against one another in live, team-oriented robotic challenges. Participants, plus their families, come from all over western and central Pennsylvania, plus states as far away as Florida, Kentucky and Michigan. International teams are even welcome. Over 2,000 attendees are expected at the 2022 Regional.

Returning the event to Downtown Pittsburgh could generate an estimated $1-million in tourism revenue for the city based on accommodations, dining, and entertainment needs of the attendees.

The fundraising effort seeks to secure $500,000 total to help fund at least two years of the competition taking place in Pittsburgh beginning next year.

The companies, universities, and organizations already pledging donations include Arconic Foundation, BDO USA, Carnegie Mellon University, Eat’n Park, EY, The Heinz Endowments, Highmark Health, Howmet Aerospace Foundation, MSA Safety, PNC Bank, and Seegrid.

Argo invites other organizations and individuals in the Pittsburgh technology and business sectors to pledge additional funding, which will be matched by Argo up to the first $150,000 to advance this community-building effort.

“The greater Pittsburgh region has always been supportive of FIRST, such as sponsoring and mentoring local teams, and this initiative takes it to a whole new level, which is just awesome for the students, families and business community,” said Daphne Frownfelter, Regional Director and Chief State Advocate of FIRST Pennsylvania. “On behalf of the student teams, I want to thank Argo AI and all the organizations for their support.”

The 2022 competition takes place March 16-19 at the Convocation Center at California University of Pennsylvania, which has hosted the past six events. Moving the event to downtown Pittsburgh is pending final approval from the FIRST board of directors.

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About Argo AI

Argo AI is a global autonomy products and services company headquartered in Pittsburgh, with engineering centers located in Detroit, Cranbury, NJ, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Munich, Germany. Since 2016, the company has been on a mission to make the world’s streets and roadways safe, accessible, and useful for all. With a team of more than 1,700 people across the U.S. and Europe, the Argo Autonomy Platform and Solutions are designed to support autonomous ridesharing and goods delivery at scale to benefit communities around the world. For more information regarding Argo, please visit www.argo.ai.

About FIRST Robotics WCPA

FIRST Western & Central Pennsylvania operates under the umbrella of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a 501(c)(3) public charity located in Manchester, NH. The regional organization shares the mission of FIRST: “To inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.” More about FIRST may be found at: www.firstinspires.org