Wednesday, December 14, 2005

New Zealand University Adds Robot Degree

News | Victoria University of Wellington

The University is launching a new major in electronic and computer systems engineering in the Master of Science programme to be led by New Zealand robotic expert, Associate Professor Dale Carnegie.

While Victoria has offered some robotics courses in the past, mechatronics is a new field that combines mechanical, electronic and software engineering with sensors, physics, mathematics, marketing and design.

Drawing on the resources of the Schools of Chemical & Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science and Design, the programme, which begins next year, includes a blend of courses on artificial intelligence, mechatronics, software engineering, physics and mathematics, with hands on work in making robotic devices.

Associate Professor Carnegie says the future of robotics is in mechatronics and the creation of autonomous robots that do not need human intervention to carry out their work.

The creation of autonomous robots is a potential new industry for New Zealand, he says. “We will never be able to compete against the massive robotic manufacturers in Japan and Taiwan, but we can create robots to carry out repetitive but varied manual tasks in niche industries. The potential is simply unlimited. My students have already made robots that can autonomously move through a farm, checking pasture quality. Such robots could be used to move through a forest, assessing the size and number of trees ready to be felled. One day they might even carry out the logging as robotic lumberjacks.”

News | Victoria University of Wellington


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