Piaggio Group: Daniela Rus joins The Piaggio Fast Forward Advisor Board

Feb 27 2018 10:24
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Daniela Rus

Daniela Rus is Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the MIT in Boston, and one of the world’s leading robotics experts

Boston, Massachusetts (USA) – 27 February 2018 – The Advisor Board of Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), a Piaggio Group subsidiary at the cutting edge of research into mobility of the future, has been further enhanced with the entry of one of the most distinguished names in world robotics research, Daniela Rus.

Michele Colaninno

“It is a honour to have Daniela Rus with us,” said Piaggio Fast Forward Chairman Michele Colaninno. “She is one of the world's leading researchers in robotics and AI and is at the forefront of human-robot interaction. This corresponds precisely with our ideas at PFF: robotic intelligence and human beings must cooperate and develop a mutually beneficial relationship in order to create a better world for tomorrow. Daniela shares a vision we believe: to give everyone the opportunity to benefit from our work.”

Daniela Rus commented: “Piaggio Fast Forward's visionary ideas underpinning Gita are establishing a new age in delivery management and movement. The Gita robotics platform will move around our cities, exchanging data, providing assistance and helping us in our work by transporting and delivering goods.”

Daniela Rus is Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) and the Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), also at the MIT in Boston.

Among Rus’ best-known work is her research into robots that self-configure to adapt to different environments by autonomously modifying their internal structure. Daniela Rus has also headed many revolutionary projects on systems consisting of interconnected robots, for applications in transport, security, environmental monitoring, agriculture and even in underwater investigations.

The Piaggio Fast Forward Advisor Board already comprises such eminent names as Nicholas Negroponte (founder of the Mit Media Lab), John Hoke (Vice President Global Design at Nike), Doug Brent (Vice President Technology Innovation at Trimble), Roberto Colaninno (Chairman and CEO of the Piaggio Group) and Jeff Linnell (former Director of Robotics and Google X). Now, with the arrival of Daniela Rus, the board acquires an additional prestigious member who will bring her experience in robotics and artificial intelligence to the project, completing a team comprising a series of outstanding experts in technology, industry, research and design.

Last year in Boston, Piaggio Fast Forward presented PFF’s first innovative projects, Gita and Kilo: two smart autonomous vehicles designed to improve mobility productivity in today’s increasingly complex urban environments, with a payload of up to 100 kg and a range of 20 km in an urban setting. The vehicles accompany the user, map their surroundings and monitor other moving objects.

During 2017, PFF received a number of important acknowledgments for its work in robotics, including the Disruptive Genius – Company award at the 2017 MITX Awards for distinction in “unconventional innovative thinking, being the first to explore new frontiers and promoting the innovation economy through its operations”; inclusion in the Top 100 Most Innovative and Disruptive construction Companies in the Robotics category by Disruptor Daily, an important international online daily, thanks to “the strong technological capabilities of Gita”; the prestigious GOOD DESIGN® AWARDS 2017 in the Robotics category with Gita, “consideraed a revolutionary and visionary project”.



PFF was founded in 2015 by the Piaggio Group to head its operations in smart mobility solutions for people and goods. Its mission is to help people move better, further, faster and more enjoyably. It develops robots and light transport solutions that can move together with a person. In the present era of artificial intelligence, autonomy and ubiquitous networks, PFF seeks to promote more vibrant cities filled with pedestrians, cyclists and skaters, whose mobility is enhanced by new varieties of smart vehicles. PFF is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

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