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Robotics
(ROB)

ro·bo·tics

The study of embodied intelligences that must sense, reason, act, and work with people to improve quality of life and productivity equitably across society.

robotics-def

WHY ROBOTICS AT MICHIGAN?

  • 1st

    Undergraduate major & Robotics Department among top-ten engineering schools

  • $75m

    134k sq ft Ford Robotics Building

  • 14 Depts

    Drawing upon faculty from 14 departments from architecture to biomedical engineering to materials science

  • 0

    Calculus or programming prerequisite courses required to take ROB 101: Computational Linear Algebra

robotics-what

What do Roboticists do?

Roboticists work in this new and rapidly-growing discipline to positively impact lives with automated systems, whether that is to improve in powered prosthetics and exoskeletons, home or healthcare robots, autonomous driving or transportation, aerial systems or drones, manufacturing and supply chains, underwater autonomous vehicles, space exploration, bio-inspired robots or any other field where a machine must sense, reason, and act on its own or in coordination with others to safely achieve a goal.

Design your degree

  • The Robotics BSE is designed to allow students a high degree of flexibility in creating their undergraduate experience. Students can select different combinations of core classes and electives in order to focus on different elements or topics within robotics. A few sample pathways include:

    • Computing-focused robot autonomy
    • Hardware-focused robot mechanisms
    • Empiricism-focused human-robot interaction, and 
    • Breadth-focused well-rounded robotics
  • The Undergraduate Program Guide (DRAFT) contains four eight-semester (four-year) sample schedules to help students envision how requirements may fit together over their time at Michigan. Each plan is only a sample of what is possible. These sample schedules are intended to represent several common interest areas, but are not the only areas on which students can focus.

Graduate receiving hood during ceremony

Minor & Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies Program (SUGS)

Our near-term goals include expanding the program to offer a Robotics minor and SUGS program.

PRACTICE YOUR PURPOSE

Apply the skills you are learning in class to the real world.

Student Design Teams

First Alumni
FIRST Alumni and Mentors Network at Michigan
A small vessel made up of two boxes sits in the NERS Fountain. The bottom box has a painted shark face
UM::Autonomy - Autonomous Boat
4 students wearing MRover shirts smile while carrying the rover, a machine platform with 4 tires and a robotic arm.
MRover - Michigan Mars Rover
A maize and blue model airplane with a large block M takes off from the runway
M-Fly
A drone with 4 propellers floats in the air with a pyramid shaped center with a white box on tip and wires sticking out
MAAV - Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles
Michigan Engineering Zone
Michigan Engineering Zone
Michigan RoboSub
Michigan RoboSub
Michigan Neuroprosthetics Logo
Michigan Neuroprosthetics
Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Team
Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Team
A student wears a powered exoskeleton. It is worn like a backpack and has metal pieces that extend down to the feet.
STARX - Strength Augmenting Robotic eXoskeletons

Research

Simultaneous Localization & Mapping (SLAM)
Simultaneous Localization & Mapping (SLAM)
READ MORE

ALUMNI BIOGRAPHIES

You can be the first alumni of our undergraduate program–but to get a sense of what other Michigan Roboticists do, check out our Robotics graduate degree alumni.

  • Asheesh Ranjan
    • Asheesh Ranjan
    • May Mobility Inc.
  • Fu-Chun Yeh
    • Fu-Chun Yeh
    • Qualcomm Autonomous Driving Research
  • Laura Chrobak
    • Laura Chrobak
    • Tidal | X, the Moonshot Factory
  • Mia Stevens
    • Mia Stevens
    • Aurora Flight Sciences
  • Theodore Nowak
    • Theodore Nowak
    • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Asheesh Ranjan

    Asheesh Ranjan

    May Mobility Inc.

Fu-Chun Yeh

    Fu-Chun Yeh

    Qualcomm Autonomous Driving Research

Laura Chrobak

    Laura Chrobak

    Tidal | X, the Moonshot Factory

Mia Stevens

    Mia Stevens

    Aurora Flight Sciences

Theodore Nowak

    Theodore Nowak

    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Not sure what major to choose?

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Industries and Occupations

Industries & Occupations

  • Software engineer
  • Engagement manager
  • Ph.D. student
  • Application consultant
  • Research engineer
  • Research scientist
  • Controls engineer
  • Applied scientist
  • Automated driving engineer
  • Computer vision engineer
  • Technical program manager
  • Artificial intelligence engineer
  • Data scientist
  • Robotics controls engineer
  • Machine learning specialist
  • Autonomy engineer
  • Feature development engineer
  • Software developer
  • Perception algorithm engineer
Company

Companies

  • iRobot
  • McKinsey & Co.
  • Harvard University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Akervall Technologies
  • Honda R&D
  • X, the moonshot factory, formally Google X
  • Magna Autonomous Systems
  • Waymo
  • Naval Research Lab
  • Wing
  • TuSimple
  • Toyota Research Institute
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Dephy Inc.
  • Amazon Robotics AI
  • Delphi Ottomatika
  • Voxel51
  • Rutgers University
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Brigham Young University
  • SoarTech
  • May Mobility
  • Northwest National Laboratory
  • IHMC
  • Zoox
  • Treetown Tech, LLC
  • Aurora Flight Sciences
  • Delphi Automotive
  • CapSen Robotics
  • Qualcomm Autonomous Driving Research
  • UCLA
  • HOVER Inc.
  • Aptiv

Find salary information at the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Discover the various salary ranges based on experience level and location.

LEARN MORE

LEARN MORE

Asheesh Ranjan

Asheesh Ranjan

  • May Mobility Inc.
  • Senior Robotics Engineer

Delhi Technological University, B.Tech Computer Software Engineering , 2015
University of Michigan, MS Robotics, 2017
Career Summary?

During my Master’s at UM, I got the opportunity to work at APRIL lab guided by Professor Edwin Olson. This role gave me exposure to field robotics with broad exposure to the full ecosystem of building and operating robots in diverse conditions. This experience and my projects during my Master’s directly contributed to my ability to contribute to May Mobility as it was founded out of the university.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

The MS Robotics program allows a diverse range of specializations with a number of course choices. My course choices and experience as an RA in APRIL allowed me to get experience as a generalist in the domain of robotics with exposure to a broad range of specializations which is unique to the UM Robotics program structure and emphasis.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Don’t try to over-specialize too early. Being a generalist and broad exposure across software engineering and robotics has been an advantage in my career and has contributed to my professional growth by enabling me to take opportunities to apply myself to system wide and organization wide challenges and develop solutions that connect various aspects of the ecosystem.

Fu-Chun Yeh

Fu-Chun Yeh

  • Qualcomm Autonomous Driving Research
  • Senior Perception Algorithm Engineer

National Chiao Tung University, BSE Electrical and Electronics Engineering, 2009
National Chiao Tung University, MSE Electrical and Electronics Engineering, 2011
University of Michigan, MSE Robotics Engineering, 2017
Career Summary

I did my directed study in professor Matthew Johnson-Roberson’s lab. The topic is about 3D semantic segmentation and it’s highly correlated with autonomous driving. It’s very helpful for you to show some works on the resume when a company wants to find a candidate who has a relevant background.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Build a good network with your classmates. Try to find a specific area you like and do more projects on that. Try to join a professor’s lab and work on state-of-the-art projects. By doing so, you can show many experiences on your resume.

Laura Chrobak

Laura Chrobak

  • Tidal | X, the Moonshot Factory
  • Research Scientist

University of California, BSE Mechanical Engineering, 2017
University of Michigan, MS Robotics, 2019
Career Summary?

I started at Umich having just finished a BSE in Mechanical Engineering at Cal. In my undergrad, my particular focus was in Marine Engineering; I spent a term my senior year as a visiting student at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute through their joint program with MIT. Through my masters work, I primarily focused on computer vision and autonomous systems for the underwater environment. My coursework, as well as my work in the Deep Robot Optical Perception (DROP) lab, aided in my success in this focus. After I graduated from Umich I joined Tidal, a team at X, the Moonshot Factory. Tidal’s mission is to protect the ocean while feeding humanity sustainably. As a research engineer at Tidal, my job involves a lot of field experimentation- collecting the data we need to train computer vision and machine learning algorithms that work to improve fish health. The project based courses I took during my robotics masters and the field work experiences I gained through my work in the DROP lab have both proved extremely valuable in my role at X.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

During my robotics masters, I had the opportunity to do a lot of field work. I worked on a project employing cameras and inertial measurement units (IMUs) to track bovines in pasture; on RobotX, a student lead team to build an autonomous catamaran; and collected camera imagery of corals in Hawaii required for photomosaics. These experiences were excellent ways to showcase how I applied the mathematical theories and algorithms I learned in the classroom to real world problems that I was passionate about solving.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

My favorite part about the Umich robotics program is the freedom that students have to shape their own curriculum. For my particular graduate school experience, I wanted to learn more about marine robotics and computer vision, so I chose to take several courses both with the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department as well as in the EECS department. This kind of bespoked education allowed me to tailor my coursework to my career path. One piece of advice for future students: explore Michigan in your time off! Drive up north to kayak at Pictured Rocks; hike the Sleeping Bear Dunes; and, if you’re willing to go a little further out, scuba dive at Tobermory. The nature in Michigan and the surrounding region is truly spectacular and a very welcome respite to the stresses of student life.

Mia Stevens

Mia Stevens

  • Aurora Flight Sciences
  • Autonomy Engineer

MIT, BS Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology, 2014
University of Michigan, MS Robotics, 2016
University of Michigan, PhD Robotics, 2019
Career Summary?

I’m in my first job out of grad school, so it was a straight line from graduate school to my current position.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

A degree in Robotics shows that you have experience in writing software and in working with physical systems, that diversity is appreciated in industry.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Grad school is an opportunity to both dive deeper into what you studied in undergrad and to broaden your understanding of the systems you’re working with and designing. Take advantage of it.

Theodore Nowak

Theodore Nowak

  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Data Scientist

Case Western Reserve University, BS Electrical Engineering, 2015
University of Michigan, MS Robotics, 2018
Career Summary?

After undergrad, I first came to the University of Michigan as a full-time Engineer in Research, where I built robots and developed software for Jason Corso’s Computer Vision lab. Being surrounded by brilliant PhDs and professors, I quickly realized there was a lot more to learn, and so, after a year in that role, I transitioned to the Masters program in the year old Robotics Institute at UMich. During the program I taught grad-level courses, worked as a GSRA in Corso’s lab, and additionally studied AI Ethics and Policy with the help of the Ford School. Upon graduation, I saw through the allure of big tech, and wanted to find a way to combine field robotics, machine learning, and public policy. I ended up at Pacific Northwest National Lab in hopes of working on meaningful, public sector projects and touching on all of my diverse interests. Currently, as a Data Scientist at PNNL, I do basic research in Machine Learning, Robotics, and Public Policy. While I enjoy my job, and the perks of working it, in the future, whether at the lab or elsewhere, I’d like to transition more towards applying my research expertise to environmental and maritime problem spaces.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

While at the end you come out with a degree, graduate school – such as a Masters program – is also an extremely formative experience. More so than undergrad, your peers are motivated and have had more time to learn more about themselves and the world. You learn from them, and their diverse experiences and come out a much better version of yourself. In addition to the expertise, and further specialization, this sense of self shows when you choose to pursue jobs.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

In my experience, those who were able to make the most out of a Masters or PhD are those who explore the world a little first, and then come back to it. Doing so will give you the direction and resolve to come back and make the most out of a graduate degree. The strength across nearly every graduate degree program at UMich made graduate school there an awesome experience. You’ll likely meet the most interesting people of your life during it.

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