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About us

VISUAL AUTONOMY FOR AIRCRAFT

KEF Robotics provides state-of-the-art autonomy software to fly aircraft without a human pilot.  A computer vision company at its core, KEF’s algorithms leverage cameras to enable autonomous flight across a variety of platforms and use cases. Our mission is to improve the safety and reliability of aircraft, expand their range and utility, and allow them to fly without GPS in uncooporative environments.  

 

We support numerous commercial partners and Department of Defense groups, including DTRA, SOCOM, Army and Air Force. KEF is a small business located in Pittsburgh, PA.

Our story

Nov 2018

Kerry, Eric, and Fraser leave their company to start KEF Robotics. K-E-F, see what we did there?

Dec 2018

The KEF team takes a finalist spot in the global Alpha Pilot competition.

2019

Based off of connections made at the competition, KEF secures their first NASA & DoD contract.

2020

The company secures multiple DoD contracts while growing and developing new autonomy capabilities

2021

Expanding their team through the pandemic, KEF continued researching new capabilities and use cases

2023

The company is thriving. Our staff has more than doubled and we can't wait to see what's next!

MEET OUR TEAM

eric amoroso

ERIC
AMOROSO

Co-founder

Eric is one of KEF's founding members and is Co-CTO. Eric is an expert in autonomous navigation. He is a stellar pilot, an exceptional guitar player, and loves drinking cold brew with a straw. 

kerry snyder

Kerry
Snyder

Co-founder

Kerry is also one of KEF's original founders and Co-CTO. Kerry is an expert software and hardware engineer and built the backbone of our GNC stack. He also happens to love cute cats and a good IPA. 

ERIC
AMOROSO

Co-founder

Eric is one of KEF's founding members and is Co-CTO. Eric focuses on our machine learning capabilities and loves drinking cold brew with a straw. 

Fraser Kitchell

Fraser
Kitchell

Co-founder

A co-founder and CEO, Fraser leads strategy, partnership, and operations for KEF Robotics. Fraser has personally built most of the walls in our warehouse, loves biking, and his dog, Joby!

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RISHIKESH VANARSE

 Computer Vision Engineer

Rishikesh works on internal R&D, SLAM, and develops features for improving navigation. Rishikesh enjoys wildlife photography and drinks too much coffee. No seriously, we are all very worried about him.

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Mithril
Hugunin

Senior Robotics Research Engineer

Mithril is a machine learning and hardware expert. She leads and contributes to numerous projects. Mithril can climb any vertical surface and consumes dangerous amounts of caffeine. 

Paul frivold

Paul
Frivold

Engineering Director for European Operations

Paul spearheads our hardware integrations across Europe, leveraging his expertise as our resident simulation specialist. As the proudest Norwegian we know, Paul manages our oversees team out of Oslo! Outside of work, Paul is an adventurist enjoying great heights and caving!

Andrew Ashley

Andrew
Ashley

Robotics Research Engineer

Andrew works on a number of KEF projects and spends much time night testing. As an excellent drone pilot, he makes beautiful videos on his personal drone. Outside of work, Andrew is a huge WVU fan and attends all of their football games.

Jonathan Cruz

jonathan
cruz

Senior Applications Enginer

Jon spearheads several projects utilizing his adept navigation and C++ proficiency. Jon leads numerous hardware and software integration efforts and in his spare time enjoys traveling and making bangers only playlists. 

curt boirum

curtis
boirum

Robotic Research Systems Engineer

Curt leads our hardware devision, assembling our drones and payloads. He is in charge of our e-lab and helps to pilot. Curt loves spending time with his family and volunteering!

jake brown

Jacob
Brown

Field Testing and Safety Lead

If you see our bus, you'll likely see this guy driving it. Jake leads our field testing team focusing on flight safety. Jake is our lead pilot, our wittiest pun-maker and spends his weekends working on cars. 

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Olga
Pogoda

Chief Operating Officer 

Olga takes lead on all internal operations, marketing, and finances. Olga is a helicopter pilot, loves hot tea, and the great outdoors.

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Denny
loevlie

Senior Computer Vision & Machine Learning Engineer

Leading multiple projects with complex internal and external team structures, Denny is a computer vision and machine learning specialists. In his spare time, Denny enjoys playing soccer and mixing delicious cocktails.

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Chris Klammer

Robotics Software Engineer

Chris's specialization lies at the intersection of computer vision, SLAM, and navigation. He also competes and coaches powerlifting in the Pittsburgh area.

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brian  dunlavey

Director of Software Engineering

Brian has been developing software for and leading teams developing autonomous mobile robots for more than twenty years. At KEF, he manages our engineering team and our product development. Brian loves challenging projects especially when it comes to DIY house projects.

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JARED
HAND

Robotics Software Engineer

Looking to apply his background in physics here at KEF, Jared helps out with various projects, including machine learning and guidance software development. In his free time, Jared enjoys reading, baking bread, and hanging out with his dog Phelan.

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steve
Harbeson

Defense Technical Relations Lead

Steve leads KEF's government relationships. He has 30+ years of military, federal, and defense contracting experience in Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Special Operations, Diving, Robotics, program management and advanced professional training. He is a decorated combat veteran who served during Operation's Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom.  

 

When Steve isn't working, he can be found sitting on the porch solving the world's problems over a glass of wine with his wife Laura, going on hikes with his wife and dogs, and navigating single track challenges on dirt bikes. 

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Odin Severinsen

Robotics Research Engineer

Some know him as god of war and death, father of Thor. To us Odin is known for his consumption of beer and his killer Mario Kart skills. Odin is a top SLAM engineer and joins Paul as our second employee in the Norway Office.

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Joby

Office Dog  and a Good Boy

Joby is a core team member focused on keeping the entire team in line with their spirits lifted. Joby stuns in cold weather sweaters and likes treats, pets, and walks.

causes & groups

KEF invests time and money supporting causes that we believe will increase access to high-quality educational opportunities and jobs, while inspiring young people to nurture their interest in robotics and entrepreneurship.  We focus especially on giving back to our nearest neighbors, with an eye towards developing a talent base that we can, hopefully, someday work with.

Obama Academy Robotics Club

KEF founded and supports the OARC, a club dedicated to support STEM education at Obama Academy, a Pittsburgh-Area public school.

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KEF has supported the GBC since 2020 by providing technical internships to high school students interested in robotics and engineering.

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