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The Urban Robotics Foundation (URF) was founded in 2021 as a global, membership-funded, non-profit organization that is bringing together stakeholders interested in public-area mobile robots (PMRs). Our goal is to help ensure that stakeholders understand the opportunities and challenges of PMRs and to build a global network of people focused on learning how PMRs can contribute to improved livability in urban ecosystems. Explore our Member Benefits

We focus on urban spaces and accessibility

Governments decide whether to reject or permit PMRs (when, where and for what purpose). Accessibility –  spaces that are safe and workable for everyone – is the overarching goal. We present the landscape as complex and nuanced, sharing ways that barriers might be overcome. We encourage stakeholders to collaborate to share ideas and best practices

Our credentials are unique

Bern Grush, Executive Director of URF, is the originator and project lead for the ISO draft technical standard 4448. His expertise fuels our deep understanding of the multiple overlapping city systems and stakeholders impacted by the deployment of PMRs. 

e-News Updates

We issue regular e-newsletters to keep readers up to date on our events and news highlights from around the world. Click the links below if you missed a past issue:

February 2024

March 2024

April 2024

May 2024

Subscribe below to be on our contact list!

Collaboration

Sponsor and Partner Links

Global and regional partnerships are so important to the development of our collaborative community of stakeholders. We are pleased to be partnering with the following organizations to expand our network and sharing of best practices:

Centre for Integrated
Transportation & Mobility

 

Intelligent Community Forum

 

Robotics Australia Group

Waterloo RoboHub

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Open Events

Webinars, Podcasts and Workshops

We are pleased to host and support a variety of open webinars and training workshops. Upcoming events are listed on our Events page.

Recent webinar recordings are available on our YouTube channel.

We are also available to provide guest speakers for podcasts and virtual or in-person events to support the robotics, mobility and accessibility industries. Here are links to some recent events that may be of interest:

Urban Life Enabled - Episode 19 (Nov 1, 2023)

E-Bike FutureCon - Bern Grush presentation
(Nov 16, 2023)

Let's Talk Robotics - Bern Grush and Nicci Rossouw (CEO, Robotics Australia Group)

As a non-profit organization, we appreciate the early adopters and pioneers in the ecosystem who support our efforts to draft the new global standard (ISO-4448) by joining as members. Here are some of the companies, municipalities and accessibility groups that are supporting our work.

 

We welcome new members at any time, including individual researchers and subject-matter experts. Our annual membership fees start when you join and continue on a 12-month rolling basis. For more information on membership, please visit our Member Benefits page.

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Robots on City Streets – The Big Questions

We invite member and non-member organizations to host or sponsor this engaging virtual or in-person workshop for their clients and colleagues. 

Download PDF - workshop overview.

Contact us for more information.

robotics Workshop by Bern

We are eager to share our message beyond our membership. To request a URF spokesperson to

participate in interviews, podcasts and panels, please contact us.

Building Awareness

Where we are now with public-area mobile robots (PMRs) in the 2020's is about where we were with the automobile in the 1900's — very early days. It will take some time to establish the 'rules of the road'. Local governments and public facilities are struggling with the influx of technologies, numerous requests for pilot studies and concerns about safety, insurance, licensing and more.


Distilling Relevant Expertise

 

By opening the ISO 4448 draft standards to input from members, we bring a range of perspectives and broad expertise to the discussion. Although opinions may vary, alignment is always possible (and critical) when the shared goals are safety, accessibility and improved liveability.

Publications and Training

We are publishing a series of guidebooks and hosting workshops to support municipal readiness for and deployment of public-area mobile robots. The first edition of URF's Executive Guide to PMRs and our Discovery Guide to PMR Deployment are being released in January 2024. The Project Guide for PMR Deployment will be released in Q2.

Advisory Services

In addition to offering discovery and deployment workshops and training, URF is pleased to offer in-depth consulting and advisory services, led by Executive Director Bern Grush. Our consulting fees would typically be retainer-based. The scope of advisory projects related to PMRs can include topics such as:

  • RFP preparation / contract review

  • Project design (including use cases)

  • Infrastructure readiness

  • Monetization

  • Orchestration

  • Public/staff acceptance

 

Please note, the following areas are out of scope for URF Advisory Services:

  • Equipment sales or resales

  • Hardware/software/vendor selection

  • Day-to-day management of pilot projects

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Bern Grush

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Bern Grush (Executive Director) is an international expert on the robotic devices impacting active transportation. He is the lead drafter for the ISO 4448 standard for public-area mobile robots (PMRs). Bern combines backgrounds in Human Factors Psychology and Systems Design Engineering to help cities prepare for the social and governance impacts of PMRs.

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Lee St. James

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Lee St. James (Managing Director) is passionate to explore how social robots can help reduce social isolation and slow cognitive decline among older adults. This passion and her years of experience in consulting, technology marketing, and digital transformation contribute tremendous value to our membership and communications priorities.

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Lee Haber

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Lee Haber (Advisor) loves transportation and cities. With degrees in civil engineering and urban planning, he puts these loves and skills to work at URF as a key drafter of the ISO 4448 standard. His frequent travels in the world’s great cities bring him continuous
insights into pedestrian infrastructure.

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Andy Manahan

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Michael Roschlau 

Corey Clothier

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linkedin account of Michael Roschlau 

Andy Manahan (Advisor) has over two decades of experience in the development and construction. He brings an extensive network and a deep understanding of regulatory reform,
government procurement and infrastructure investment solutions.

Michael Roschlau (Advisor) is a strategic adviser in public transit and urban mobility. Dedicated to efficient and effective public transit, he most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA).

Corey Clothier (Advisor) has more than 14 years of product and business development experience in AVs. He has led product development and deployment strategy for startups, automotive OEMs, major cities, defense companies, and insurance, transit and global entertainment companies.

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