Educating Future Robotics Engineers In Multidisciplinary Approaches In Robot Software Design

A.M. van der Niet, C.C. Claij, Gillian Saunders-Smits*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


In 2020, a new two-year MSc programme in robotics was launched. Unlike most existing robotics programmes, which approach robotics from a specific discipline, this programme aims to train multi-deployable robot generalists using a cognitive approach (no hardware creation). The field of robotics is multidisciplinary by nature and educating students on how to approach projects with a multidisciplinary mindset is at the forefront of the programme. Hence, at the end of the first year, students are thrust into experiencing the true multi-disciplinarity of the robotics field in a synthesizing, multidisciplinary project-based course. In this 5 EC course, students work together in groups of 5 on an industry-based assignment making a translation of societal issues from different perspectives (human, sustainability, safety, ethics, economic, etc.) into intelligent robot solutions. Each team develops and tests a complete, integrated software package for a complex robot system in a simulated environment and implements it in a real robot at the end of the course. Various robots are used, each related to a different case study which is taken on by multiple teams. Students are supported in their project with workshops and minilectures on transferable skills, systems engineering and the Robot Operating System (ROS). This paper describes the development, implementation, and results of the course over its first three years of running. It will present lessons learned from the perspectives of all parties involved: lecturers, technical staff, industry, and students as well as future plans and recommendations for others looking at creating similar courses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI): Reflecting on the role of engineering and technology education for a sustainable world - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 11 Sept 202314 Sept 2023
Conference number: 51


Conference51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI)
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2023


  • Robotics
  • Multidisciplinary Design
  • Cooperative education
  • Student Experience
  • Project Based Learning


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