Focus of the UT activities is the design and use of robots that interact with their environment, and with people in those environments: robotic solutions that can co-exist and co-work with people to improve their way of living and wellbeing. To realize both scientific and societal impact, it is important that the research is application-inspired and incorporates three domains: technology-, ELS- (ethical, legal and societal) and business-readiness.
The core technology-oriented robotics research groups at the UT are:
- Robotics and Mechatronics, (EWI-RaM) Professors Stramigioli and Broenink: advanced robotics, maintenance and inspection robotics, medical robotics and minor activities in agricultural robotics.
- Human-Media Interaction (EWI-HMI), Professor Evers: Human-robot interaction.
- Biomechanical Engineering (ET-BME), Professors Van der Kooij and Misra: medical robotics, wearable robotics (a.o. exo-skeletons), computer-assisted diagnosis, surgical robotics, micro- and nano-robotics.
- Department of Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems (ET-MS3), Professors Brouwer, Aarts, Hakvoort and Van Dijk: precision robots (industrial robotics, medical robotics, agro robots)
- Design Production and Management (ET-OPM), Professor Vaneker: collaborative robotics in smart industries
There are a lot of research areas from which the robotics research groups can benefit and vice-versa. Some of the research groups working on enabling technologies are:
- Pervasive Systems (EWI-PS), Professor Havinga: sensor systems.
- Professor Martens (ET): autonomous cars.
- Design, Production and Management (ET), Professor Bonnema: design, multidisciplinary systems engineering.
- Cognitive Psychology & Ergonomics (BMS-CPE), Professors Van der Velde and Verwey: cognition and robotics, neural modelling.
- Earth Observation Science (ITC-EOS), Professor Vosselman: drones for earth observation, mapping, sensor integration
Within the ELS (ethical legal and societal) domain, most important groups with robotics-oriented research projects are:
- Philosophy (BMS-Phil), Professors Brey and Verbeek: ethics and responsible design.
- Governance & Technology for Sustainability (BMS-CSTM): Professors Heldeweg and Bressers: legal aspects of robotics.
Several groups are working on business-oriented robotics topics (or they are mainly users of robots):
- NIKOS (BMS), Professors Groen and De Weerd-Nederhof: business modelling.
- Professor Kerle (ITC): drones for disaster and damage management.
The UT also has a strong business position based on the business and innovation eco-system of Novel-T and its partners such as the Venture Capital investment company Cottonwood (with one of their four focal markets for investments being robotics).