Imagining advances from lighter cars to smarter robots, President Obama is announcing a $500 million project to spur high-technology manufacturing, a sector of US industry that presidential advisers say has lost ground to such competitors as Germany and Japan. Today in Pittsburgh, Obama is to call for a joint effort by industry, universities, and the federal government to help reposition the United States as a leader in cutting-edge manufacturing, including biotechnology, robotics, and nanotechnology—the development of new materials at the molecular level.
Obama will be touring the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, and his administration's plan includes $70 million for a robotics initiative. It also is aiming $300 million toward national security industries and $100 million for research and training to more quickly develop advanced materials at lower costs. Some of the $500 million would come from existing allocations to government agencies, but other money is only reflected in Obama's 2012 budget request and would require approval by Congress.