June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1098.1 - 13.1098.11
Steps Along a Robotics Technology Career Pathway
This paper describes an evolving Robotics Technology career pathway. The project began with a study commissioned by a regional robotics industry group that surveyed both local and national robotics companies to determine their workforce needs. Continuing industry input guided the development of an “agile robotics” technician and technologist career pathway from high school through associate and bachelor degrees. The steps along this path are chronicled through the description of the meta-steps of creating a project partnership, developing a program, implementing a curriculum, determining industry workforce requirements, and adjusting the project plan and expectations in order to stay aligned with evolving industry needs.
First Step: a need identified
The US robotics industry, which has a strong presence in Pennsylvania (PA), is experiencing market growth from healthcare to manufacturing, with large growth in defense and homeland security. Industrial automation is an important robotics market segment; however, significant regional growth is occurring in service robots or “agile robotics” applications. These are the emerging generation of intelligent and/or mobile devices and vehicles that interact with humans, with other robots, and with their surroundings. Agile robotics utilizes rapidly advancing sensor, processing, communications, and software technologies and thus blends traditionally distinct engineering disciplines including electronics, computers, embedded systems, software, networking, mechanical systems, manufacturing, information management, and artificial intelligence. Because educational programs do not traditionally blend these areas, there appears to be a gap where new curriculum and corresponding teacher development / laboratory enhancement are required.
The workforce development needs of PA’s growing agile robotics industry are important to The Technology Collaborative (TTC), a not-for-profit technology-based economic development organization focused on starting, attracting, and growing robotics, cyber-security and digital technology companies. In July 2004, TTC engaged an independent marketing consultant to study what, if any, baseline training was needed for end-users and service technicians in the Robotics industry. Survey respondents included Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute researchers involved in technology training with military and government clients; 13 robotics companies (9 of which are located in Pennsylvania); and 4 military/civilian contractors who purchase robots and plan for training. This study identified a growing need to create formalized training for the robotics industry.
Significant training needs were identified for military and civilian bomb disposal units as the number of military and civilian robots being deployed continues to increase. Military and homeland security Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) robots have demonstrated the ability to save lives, and beginning in 2009, robots will be on the list of required items for all accredited bomb squads.1 In addition, PA companies are developing robotics technologies and selling robotic equipment into a variety of industries, including healthcare, water, waste water,
Landis, D., & Komacek, S., & Adukaitis, C., & Shoop, R. (2008, June), Steps Along A Robotics Technology Career Pathway Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3312
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