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Project Execution

NREC projects share a common execution method that quickly delivers high-impact results. 

Prospective sponsors often present large, complex problems to NREC. We work closely with them to identify key objectives for solving these problems and maturing the technology. Even large, multi-year projects can be distilled into a handful of fundamental objectives that guide every task and decision.

After project kick-off, the NREC team begins a prototype development process that spirals through invent, engineer and test. The result is a prototype that meets the customer’s objectives. Projects can begin with any of the three phases; each iteration rapidly improves prototype performance, cost and reliability.

Invention takes up a small amount of project time compared to engineering, but it propels a prototype from demonstration to full-fledged product. NREC faculty and staff have dozens of awarded and pending patents. They often team with campus researchers and specialty firms to gain fresh perspectives and access to promising new technologies.

NREC is staff-heavy, giving us the permanent engineering skills to execute deliverable-oriented projects.  Our staff features electrical, mechanical, robotics, and software engineers; system engineers; program managers; and technicians skilled in every aspect of system assembly and testing. We recruit the best from Carnegie Mellon, other universities, and industry. We invest in tools, training and process improvement so that staff can be creative and productive while meeting schedule and budget. 

We test our systems early, often, and under realistic conditions. Sophisticated simulation tools help us find and fix problems even before testing starts. We field test wherever our systems operate: underground mines, orchards, farms, factories, deserts, swamps, forests, mountains, and more. We push our systems to the breaking point, finding performance and reliability limits that are addressed in the next engineering cycle. Our customers participate in all field tests and learn from successes and failures alongside us.



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