Although automation and robotics engineering is an area of engineering in its own right, it is really the amalgamation of several different areas of engineering.
Electricians and mechanics, as well as electrical, mechanical, software, hardware and infrastructure engineers all have a role to play in this complex area of engineering. Their role is to design, build and maintain these complicated machines.
There are a range of entry points to this subsector and it’s open to all kinds of characters, from apprentices to PhD graduates. Wherever your strengths lie there’s a lot of scope for career development. Indeed, whether you’re a practical superstar or a theoretical genius you can get involved with this intriguing line of work.
Robots have four elements:
Hardware and infrastructure
The software is kind of like the glue that sticks all the other bits together; it runs on the hardware and makes the mechanical and electrical parts work together to perform a specific task.
Although these different constituent parts seem rather separate, robotics and automation engineering often involves a crossover between different disciplines of engineering. It’s not uncommon to find electro-mechanical engineers working in this area, or mechatronics engineers who combine electric engineering with both computer and electrical engineering
What are the benefits of becoming an automation or robotics engineer?
Working in this type of engineering can bring an immense sense of fulfilment. If you take a project from inception to completion, the rewards can know no bounds. Projects are often complicated and can be time-consuming, especially when so many different components are involved. You can also get a great deal of satisfaction from knowing that you are reducing the amount of humans that have to work in potentially dangerous places.
In terms of technological advancement, automation and robotics engineering is progressing quickly in its traditional home of automotive industries, but also in other areas too. Automation and robotics engineering is now also used within the emergency services, the military and medical professions.
The application of automation and robotics can be broad. You could be working on single action robots in factories that stamp dates or put lids on pots. Alternatively, you could be working on much more complex projects and be designing pilotless drones or explorer buggies.