Oshkosh Corp. started with a single four-wheel-drive truck more than 100 years ago in central Wisconsin. Today it is a global manufacturer of specialty trucks, military vehicles, fire apparatus and other equipment, generating $8 billion in revenues annually.
Now the company is looking to Pittsburgh’s world-leading robotics and AI sector for its next chapter.
“As an industrial technology company, we have really been focused on technology development, electrification and autonomy in particular,” Jill Hanegraaf, a senior marketing manager for Oshkosh, told the Pittsburgh Business Times. “There’s been a lot of work in that in Pittsburgh and a lot of great talent there.”
After partnering 18 months ago with Carnegie Foundry, a new company focused on investing in and supporting Pittsburgh-based startups and spinoffs in the tech fields, Oshkosh is building its new space on the city’s “Robotics Row” in the Strip District neighborhood.
The company has leased about 17,000 square feet in a building on Smallman Street, which is also home to research space for fellow Fortune 500 conglomerate Honeywell International. Honeywell partners with Pittsburgh International Airport on innovative air quality projects.
More than two dozen people are expected to work at Oshkosh’s new technology center, which is aiming for a June opening. It will focus on autonomous vehicle development, an emerging field that has drawn global brands such as Uber, Ford, Volkswagen and others to Western Pennsylvania in recent years.
JLG Industries, an Oshkosh subsidiary that makes industrial lifts and platforms, is based about 125 miles east of Pittsburgh and recently opened a 400,000-square-foot facility in one of the airport’s business parks.
“Pittsburgh is just a hub of AI and robotics and autonomy and it made sense to set up an innovation center there,” Hanegraaf said.