Gone are those days when robots were merely in our imaginations or in fiction stories. Technology has improved by leaps and bounds and has turned our visions into reality. In the upcoming years, we could see lifelike humanoids working around us for us to make our lives easier and better. Take the case of Sophia - the humanoid robot, she was created by David Hanson, who is the founder of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics. Sophia was designed to conversate and to help humans in decision making. After that, many of its siblings emerged in the market. In fact, mass production of humanoid robots has been going on in Turkey since 2017. Robots are everywhere around us, although not in the as fascinating form as humanoids. They are assisting us in all kind of industries, for example, Automotive, Electronics manufacturing, Medical, Welding, Food Service, Law Enforcement and more.
Robotics and automation are performing a very significant role in various industries such as production and manufacturing, healthcare, gaming, mining companies and more. There is no shortage of jobs for students as new opportunities are emerging with each passing day.
What are Automation and Robotics? How is robotics related to automation? These are the first two questions that come in our minds when we think about this field. To get the answers, first, we need to understand these two terms.
Robotics is a branch of engineering which integrates multiple disciplines which help in designing, building, programming, and using robotic machines.
Automation is carried out by the means of computer software and machines to complete tasks or work. It can be of many types, for example, software automation and industrial automation. Some examples of Software automation are Business Process Automation (BPA), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). The most prominent example of industrial automation is CNC machines.
Of course, there are crossovers between Robotics and Automation. We use robots to automate manufacturing tasks. In many cases, the term robotics is used to express both robotics and automation. However, many automation tasks have nothing to do with robotics.
Core subjects in Robotics and Automation
The core subjects that are generally required to shine in Robotics are Maths and Science. Especially, Physics plays a prominent role in understanding the functional concepts of machine building.
Fields incorporated in Robotics and Automation
Robotics and Automation usually include fields like engineering, electronics, mechanics, software programming and arts. That means students from diverse related areas can come and make their career in it.
Programming skills are important for robotics. Students from computer science and IT can build a career in Robotics and Automation. The knowledge of web development can help in designing an interface to control robotic machines from remote locations.
Generally, it takes 1-4 years to complete a diploma or degree in robotics and automation. Prior knowledge of the related field has added advantage.
There are plenty of opportunities present for robotic professionals worldwide. From toy producers to military equipment manufacturers, or in any other industry, there is a plethora of options and scope for innovation in robotics. Take the example of health care industry which is already using it widely. A degree or diploma in Robotics and Automation can land students in lucrative job positions.
Countries like Canada are doing exceptionally well. Canada is globally recognized as a robotics innovator. As per data available, from 2010 to 2015, there was a 35% increase in average annual growth in robot orders. On December 6, 2018, the Canadian government announced an investment of up to nearly $230 million for SCALE.AI to bring the retail, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, and information technology sectors together to create intelligent supply chains through AI and robotics. In March 2019, the Canadian government took the decision to invest $1.4 million in waste robotics.
The University of Fraser Valley offers a diploma program in Robotics & Automation. This program is intended to provide students with skills and experiences to build, integrate, and maintain automation and control systems. It exposes them to industrial system control applications using 6 axis robotic arms, motors, PLCs, HMI, pneumatics and more.
Algonquin college is providing co-op honours Bachelor of Automation and Robotics program. It is an extensive program and takes four years to complete.
There are many other colleges in Canada which are providing courses in Robotics. Many more are granting degrees in automation programs alone.