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Tom Panzarella Appointed Chief Technology Officer at Seegrid: Will Lead Seegrid’s Technology Innovation and Product Development

May 8, 2024  |  Pittsburgh, PA

Seegrid Corporationa leader in autonomous mobile robot (AMR) solutions for material handling, announced today the appointment of Tom Panzarella to the position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO). In this critical leadership role, Panzarella will spearhead Seegrid’s technological initiatives to continue guiding the development of cutting-edge autonomous solutions that work—meeting evolving customer needs and delivering unmatched ROI. Panzarella’s appointment underscores Seegrid's commitment to innovation and industry advancement in the rapidly evolving field of robotics and automation.

"I am very pleased to appoint Tom to the role of Chief Technology Officer," said CEO and President Joe Pajer. "Tom's exceptional leadership and dedication to technological innovation have been pivotal in shaping Seegrid's market leading AMR solutions. With Tom at the helm of our technology and development teams, I am confident that Seegrid will continue to revolutionize the future of material handling automation."

As CTO, Panzarella will lead Seegrid's technology initiatives, including the development of cutting-edge autonomous solutions that empower customers to optimize their material handling workflows. His strategic vision will drive the advancement of Seegrid's proprietary autonomy technology, further enhancing the safety, efficiency, and flexibility of its proven AMRs.

Tom Headshot-1

"I am honored to take on the role of Chief Technology Officer at Seegrid," said Panzarella. "Seegrid's commitment to innovation and customer-centric solutions is truly inspiring, and I am excited to lead our talented team of engineers as we continue to push the boundaries of what's possible in autonomous material handling."

Panzarella began working with Seegrid in 2017 while he was building his first perception-based start-up company, Love Park Robotics (LPR). Seegrid partnered with LPR to successfully apply LPR's pallet detection technology in its AMR solutions. 

After LPR was acquired in 2018 by ifm, he founded a second start-up named Box Robotics. Box was focused on rebuilding the AGV perception stack with human-like spatial awareness by leveraging long-range 3D LiDAR, Deep Learning, and HD Maps—in direct alignment with Seegrid's long-term technology vision.

Seegrid acquired Box Robotics in September 2020, making Panzarella and his co-founder John Spletzer technology leaders within the company, focused on the successful commercialization of the Box technology stack in our AMR solutions today.

Panzarella has over 27 years of experience in engineering and robotics. As the new CTO, Panzarella will steer Seegrid’s technology and product development, working closely with our customers on the required technology and innovation initiatives, and represent Seegrid across the technical bodies that are driving the growth of autonomy across the industry.

Q&A with Tom Panzarella: 

Q: What excites you most about your new role as CTO?
A: The most exciting thing for me is the timing and the opportunity to make a lasting impact. Right now there is a convergence of several factors that is driving our market. First, the macroeconomic condition around the stability of labor supply creates an almost urgent need for autonomy technology. Second, our customers have what is seemingly an endless number of problems that they are trying to solve which lead to increased demand for our solutions. Third, foundational technology in areas such as sensors, embedded computers, artificial intelligence, and open-source robotics software have all matured to a point that they can be incorporated into cost-effective and robust solutions. This could not have been timed better. I am thrilled to be a part of a leading organization in the AMR-space and to be appointed into a role where I can help to influence the next generation of industrial automation.


Q: What are your primary goals and objectives as Seegrid's new Chief Technology Officer?
A: Seegrid was founded by a legendary roboticist, Dr. Hans Moravec. The company was formed around the commercialization of Hans’ work in infrastructure-free localization built on stereo vision and 3D probabilistic mapping. Seegrid was disruptive in commercializing Hans’ work—and we produced a solution that is highly predictable but requires no infrastructure changes, with routes that can be trained by simply walking the vehicle through the facility. Seegrid literally laid the foundation for the AMR revolution that we are all currently witnessing. 

Today, we are revolutionizing the industry again—by offering technology that can scale from this highly predictable solution which is appropriate in many cases, to solutions that offer tremendous flexibility, built upon Seegrid’s dynamic path planning. As Seegrid’s new CTO, my primary goal is to stay true to our heritage in innovating and commercializing deep robotics technology, to align this technology to our customer’s objectives, and to push our market forward for our customers and society as a whole.  

Q: How do you envision Seegrid's technology evolving under your leadership?

A: Our technology will evolve in support of our customers’ needs—a solution-based offering that supports full end-to-end autonomous workflows as we're already seeing with our industry-leading Autonomous Buffer Management (ABM) solution. In the tech stack, this is an architecture that looks at AMRs and enterprise software as a single distributed computing system that is designed to solve problems, easy to tune, and is observable. By having direct exposures to the kinds of problems our lead customers are trying to solve, you can expect to see continued investment and market leadership in our manipulation stack and AI perception models, significant enhancements to our planning systems to include fleet-scale optimization, and an increasingly innovative set of capabilities offered in Fleet Central, our enterprise software platform.


Q: What do you see as the biggest opportunities for Seegrid in the coming years?
Growth in the autonomous lift truck market is a sweet spot for Seegrid. As we continue building out our Palion Lift Truck solutions—the CR1 and RS1—we focus on providing the most capable systems in the market today.

We’ve made huge investments in our manipulation software—composed of perception feedback systems, dynamic planners, controllers, and safety systems over-and-above regulatory requirements—that will generalize to nearly any manipulation task that can be handled by a lift truck. Our leading-edge AI perception models segment the scene in real-time into semantically relevant objects of interest. This facilitates high-level reasoning by our planning and execution software to ensure we can carry out the work safely and reliably.

This core capability is an innovative and true differentiator between Seegrid and others in the market today and is setting a new standard for lift truck autonomy. I think this is undoubtedly a competitive edge from which our customers will realize significant benefits.


Q: What role do you see collaboration playing in driving Seegrid's technological advancements?
Collaboration will be very important for Seegrid and for the broader market. I view this as a sign of a growing industry that is starting to establish an ecosystem of solution providers solving hard, multifaceted problems in the real-world. Today at Seegrid, we are focused on automating material flows best served by tugging and lift truck applications, and we have a particularly strong focus this year on building out our Autonomous Buffer Management solution. 

Collaboration in the context of establishing industry standards will be important for Seegrid. We are already involved in helping to inform safety regulations and you should expect to see more involvement by our team in the emerging interoperability standards, as well as active participation in the open-source robotics community. 

But the most important collaborations will be with our customers. Helping their facilities become “autonomy ready” and setting each other up for mutual success will be to the benefit of everyone involved. 


About Seegrid

Seegrid, a leader in autonomous mobile robot (AMR) solutions for material handling solutions, combines AMR technology, enterprise software, and best-in-class services for complete, connected automated workflows. With over 13 million autonomous production miles driven to date, Seegrid Palion™ AMRs are reliable, flexible, and proven. The world’s largest manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics companies rely on Seegrid. We are partnered with over 50 global brands where 2,000+ AMRs are deployed within 200+ customer sites. From our dependable Palion Tow Tractor to our industry-leading Lift Truck solutions, let us work with you to embrace the future of autonomous material handling.

To access Seegrid images, visit: seegrid.com/media

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Jennifer Bauman


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