The father of Modern Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov postulated the “Three Laws of Robotics”:
1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2.A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3.A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
This was way back in 1941 in the short story “Rundown”. The story talks of an expedition to the planet Mercury in 2015. Though modern science has evolved by leaps and bounds and we have landed on the moon, mining for precious minerals on other planets is still a far prospect. What has become a reality is the growth of electronics, the miniaturisation of computing devices, the growth of Artificial Intelligence or AI and the evolution of robotics.
This article will look at the state of robotics in India, the scope of robotics as a viable career option, some of the leading institutions offering programmes in Robotics, entry requirements and course structure and the associated costs.
Robotics in India
These are exciting times for those looking to study robotics and make a career out of it. There is a massive requirement to automate processes across industries and boost productivity and minimise human risk. From plants assembling automobiles to unmanned drones that can monitor areas of conflict and long coastlines, we need brilliant minds that can create low-cost and effective robots. The influx of DIY robot kits from China and Japan and videos on YouTube have increased the popularity of robots and created interest in the subject among children. In fact, there are dedicated hobby groups comprising children, young men and women and the middle-aged who tinker around with kits and create robots and run racing competitions.
Robotics as a full-time degree programme is still in its nascent stages in India. Most students study Robotics as a part of their core engineering degree and those truly passionate about the subject and with the means to fund their studies seek to do a postgraduate degree in Robotics abroad.
Leading the Way
The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University(RI) is consistently ranked among the best places in the world to study a postgraduate programme in Robotics. The Robotics Institute was started in 1979 to examine the possibilities of using robots to automate tasks in industrial manufacturing. Over the years, the institution grew in size, stature and the scope of research work that was carried out here led to RI becoming the first institution in the world to offer a PhD in Robotics in 1988. Currently, a number of postgraduate degree options and undergraduate minor in Robotics are on offer for students at CMU.
View a detailed list of institutions offering postgraduate programmes in Robotics in the USA.
In the UK, the University of Bristol offers a highly acclaimed MSc in Robotics programme. This programme is offered by the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England. The Bristol Robotics Laboratory is the largest academic research center for Robotics in the UK. Other leading universities offering postgraduate programmes in Robotics include – the University of Plymouth, London South Bank University, University of Birmingham, Middlesex University and the University of Sheffield. Prospective students can view a detailed list of institutions offering postgraduate programmes in Robotics in the UK.
A Shade ‘Down Under’
In Australia, a number of universities combine Robotics and Mechatronics and offer a variety of programmes. Institutions like RMIT and La Trobe University offer such programmes. Charles Sturt University and the University of Sydney offer a number of PhD options in Robotics.
Robotics in Japan
As stated at the beginning of this article, Japan leads the world in Robotics research and probably the best place to study and conduct research in Robotics would be Japan. The Japanese government offers the Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Scholarships, which fund higher education in Japan for international students. The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University would be great places to study Robotics. It is recommended for an international student to have completed a basic course in Japanese to help acclimatise to life in Japan.
At the postgraduate level a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent is mandatory for students looking to join a Robotics programme. A relevant undergraduate degree with a strong focus in Physics, Computing, Mechanical or Electronic Engineering is recommended. Students are required to have excellent research skills and the patience to sift through lots of data.
The costs are dependent on the duration of the programme and the country of study. A one-year degree may cost about INR 16 lakhs to INR 20 lakhs. Those enrolling for research programmes should check for the availability of grants, fellowships and scholarships to fund their studies. Students should also earmark funds for living and accommodation costs. On-campus accommodation usually works out as the best option for students!
The career opportunities for those who have completed a postgraduate programme in Robotics are varied. From designing industrial robots to working on cutting-edge products that can be used in medical science and exploration of the oceans to designing humanoid robots that can replicate basic human tasks; the possibilities are indeed infinite. Many students venture into research and teaching as well. The salaries are quite high in this field and skilled robotics engineers can earn upwards of INR 2 lakhs a month.
Here’s a fun activity for you! Build your own paper robot!
Still confused about which Robotics programme to choose? Don’t worry; call us now on 1-800-103-2581 for expert study abroad advice. Experts are available from Monday through Saturday from 9:30 AM to 7 PM. Pick the phone and call us. We will help you find the perfect postgraduate programme in Robotics.
Image Source - Asimo Honda