03 Jul 2021 16:36 IST

The study of robotics engineering

Can one specialise in it and what kind of jobs can one look forward to?

What does the study of robotics entail? Can one specialise in it and what kind of jobs can one look forward to? - Harsh

Robotics is a catchall field for every aspect of modern engineering — mechanical, electrical, electronics, computer science, imaging, physics, AI, ML, speech recognition, dynamics, control, telecommunications, networking, material sciences, and manufacturing. It is a highly applied field where machines are designed, developed, and manufactured to solve a particular problem, such as factory automation or a rover to explore the hostile environments of outer space.

Several American universities offer topnotch programmes in robotics, including Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins, and Caltech. Many programmes lead to PhDs. When you’re pursuing a robotics graduate degree, look carefully at the research that individual faculty members are pursuing, including the kinds of problems they are experts at, and, accordingly, write your statement of purpose such hat your interests align with those of the professor.

Generally any STEM-based undergrad degree is accepted. Job opportunities depend upon the maturity of automation technology in each industry, with the best promise in sectors attempting to replace low-cost labour. The high-end jobs to develop robots for defusing bombs, advanced surgery, and military applications are also in demand.

Computer scientist Raj Reddy was presented with the Computer History Museum (CHM) 2021 Fellow Award  for his lifetime of work in artificial intelligence, speech recognition, robotics, institution building, and technology. Reddy was the founding director of CMU's Robotic Institute, and in this acceptance speech, he discusses the potential and scope of robotics.