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U.S. Army TARDEC, Macomb Community College Urge Michigan Students toward Technology Careers in Robotics, Engineering

POSTED 05/10/2010

DETROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, MI – Middle- and High-School students from around Michigan have been invited to Macomb Community College May 4-5 to learn about future, attainable careers in robotics and engineering and see the latest trends for semi-autonomous robotics in action. The event – titled Robotics, Engineering and Technology (RET) Week – is being hosted for the fourth consecutive year by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).
According to Dr. Jim Overholt, U.S. Army TARDEC Senior Research Scientist in Robotics, students will be surprised by the wide array of robotics careers available, including those with the Army. “The growth of robotics technology is going to have a significant impact on how people live, play and work worldwide,” he explained. “Part of that growth includes careers in robotics – one of the many occupational fields available within the Department of Defense and especially TARDEC.”
At RET Week, groups of students from around Michigan will gather at the Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center and hear from leading experts, see demonstrations of current robots and participate in a robot-building challenge. The course from the popular 2010 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition will also be on display. In the FIRST robotics category, high school student teams had six weeks to build robots from a kit containing hundreds of parts. The robots competed for awards in Breakaway, a soccer-like game that required them to climb obstacles to score goals against their opponents. TARDEC is the state’s largest supporter of FIRST.
“Events like RET Week and FIRST are important to TARDEC and our Nation because they help lay the groundwork for the future of Michigan’s engineering and technical work force,” Overholt continued
Since RET Week’s inception in 2007, thousands of students have attended these informative sessions and robotics demonstrations.

The Army has approximately 8,000 robots currently fielded in conflict areas today.
According to the blog Automaton, the robot population on Earth now stands at approximately 8.6 million units. That figure includes 1.3 million industrial robots and 7.3 million service robots serving manufacturing, government, domestic and military applications.
Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to more than 59,000 students annually.  Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded and as the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan.  The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.
Headquartered at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, MI, TARDEC is the Nation's laboratory for advanced military automotive technology and serves as the Ground Systems Integrator for all DOD manned and unmanned ground vehicle systems. With roots dating back to the World War II era, TARDEC is a full life-cycle, systems engineering support provider-of-first-choice for all DOD ground combat and combat support weapons, equipment and vehicle systems. TARDEC develops and integrates the right technology solutions to improve Current Force effectiveness and provides superior capabilities for Future Force integration. TARDEC’s technical, scientific and engineering staff lead cutting-edge research and development in Ground Systems Survivability; Power and Mobility; Intelligent Ground Systems; Force Projection; and Vehicle Electronics and Architecture.
TARDEC is a major research, development and engineering center for the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) and partner in the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.

For more information about TARDEC, visit us at

John Wray