Robotics engineers build, install, operate, test and maintain robots, robotic components, devices and systems.
Robotics engineering uses a combination of mechanical, electronic and programming skills. Some robots operate autonomously, while humans operate others.
Robotics plays a big part in the space sector. The robotic arms on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station have:
- deployed payloads
- retrieved and repaired satellites
- helped crew inspect and repair spacecraft
The Mars rover is also a robot designed for space exploration.
Australia has a very strong robotics industry. More opportunities to work in the space industry are likely to emerge in the coming years. Future robotics engineers may find themselves working on satellites that can navigate on their own and repair themselves. They also might work on rovers or other robots that can explore planets or build structures on the Moon.
The minimum study requirement to work as a robotics engineer is an undergraduate degree in engineering. Some employers may have further requirements, such as postgraduate qualifications or research in a particular specialty.
The following universities offer undergraduate study options related to the space industry:
- Swinburne University's Space Technology minor, as part of an engineering degree
- The University of Sydney’s Space Engineering stream, which is available to undergraduate Aeronautical, Mechatronic and Mechanical Engineering students.
The main engineering majors relevant to becoming a robotics engineer are:
- Mechatronics Engineering
- Robotics Engineering
Degrees in the following study areas may also be relevant to becoming a robotics engineer:
- Electrical/Electronics Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Systems Engineering
Almost all universities in Australia offer degrees in engineering. Visit individual university websites for more information.
At the postgraduate level, the following courses may be relevant to becoming a robotics engineer:
- The International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program. This program forms the first part of the University of South Australia’s Graduate Certificate of Space Studies.
- UNSW@ADFA’s Master of Space Engineering
Postgraduate qualifications by coursework or research in relevant areas of engineering may also support a career in robotics engineering. Visit individual university websites for more information.