The demand for specialists trained in robotics, automation and autonomous systems is increasing due to the wide availability of drones and the desire for more autonomy in vehicles.
Colorado School of Mines in Colorado, US is launching a new graduate programme that it stated will capitalise on the university's deep expertise in field robotics and its niche in the geosciences and extractive industries.
Starting in autumn 2020, the Robotics programme at the university will offer graduate certificates, master's degrees (thesis and non-thesis) and a PhD to prepare working professionals for the next step in their careers and researchers for solving the fundamental problems facing the field today.
According to Kevin Moore, vice provost for strategic initiatives and director of the Robotics programme, the demand for specialists trained in robotics, automation and autonomous systems is increasing due to the wide availability of drones and their applications and the desire to put more safety features and autonomy into vehicles, such as self-driving cars and trucks.
"Robotics is fundamentally about developing machines that can do dirty, difficult, dangerous and dull tasks. It is also about helping people do things they can't do, such as developing an exoskeleton for someone with mobility challenges," he said.
"Technology has reached the point where many of the ‘science fiction' ideas about what robots might do has become possible. As a result, the need for well-trained scientists and engineers who can contribute to realising this promise is growing - and Mines will be there helping to fill that need."
Richard C Holz, provost at the Colorado School of Mines, said the university is well suited to deliver these new programmes.
"In addition to the unique application arenas available at Mines, our university has a great concentration of young robotics researchers who are experts in everything from the theory of how to design working robots and autonomous systems to how to apply them to a variety of applications to how to develop these systems so that they work well with people," he said.
"As it becomes more and more clear that robots are both helpers and co-inhabitants of our environment, this expertise puts us right at the cutting edge of the robotics research world and makes Mines the right place to launch this programme."
The Robotics core curriculum will focus on robotic perception, cognition, action and interaction, with students able to choose one of the four areas for additional depth. Technical electives will be offered in computer science, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.