Students at DTU have so far had the opportunity to specialize in automation and robot technology on the Electrical Engineering study programme, but now the area is getting its own MSc programme: Autonomous Systems.
“We’re seeing a huge development in automation and robot technology and the further development of robots into units that can figure out how to do things—from drones and underwater robots to self-driving cars and autonomous ships. There is a huge demand for graduates in this area,” says Professor Ole Ravn from DTU Electrical Engineering.
DTU has therefore spent several years developing the new study programme, which has gained further traction as a result of its merger with a similar programme offered for some years by Aalborg University, Sydhavnen Campus. Two associate professors and an assistant professor have moved from Aalborg University to DTU, and this autumn 21 of their students will continue their education at DTU.
Several different academic areas provide access to the MSc Programme in Autonomous Systems—an electrical engineering, compute, IT, and mechanical engineering background—as well as a management background.
Design and management
Some candidates may have to supplement their background knowledge—e.g. with more programming knowledge. But as with all DTU’s study programmes there will be a large element of choice, so that students can adapt the programmes to suit their individual needs and preferences.
The students must learn to design and manage the total autonomous systems and ensure that these systems are reliable and continuously monitored, so that they can intervene if something goes wrong.
“Students need to be creative, dexterous, and willing to gain competences in various branches of science engineering,” summarizes Ole Ravn, who promises excellent facilities to test the systems.
Among other things, the University plans to build a new test hall where students can test-fly drones.
According to Ole Ravn, the new graduates will be in great demand—there is a growing market for robots and autonomous systems—and thus for people who can design and develop them.
Many industries are working to automate the toughest production processes—e.g. slaughterhouses. Automated processes can also lead to more uniform products which can be continuously quality assessed. Drones are also experiencing strong growth, inspecting everything from wind turbines in the air to schools of fish in the water. In short, the entire industry 4.0 wave requires graduates with knowledge of robots and autonomous systems.
Students on the two-year programme will be required to learn a lot of basic material.
“The students will be busy, but in our experience they will be highly motivated to learn the basic theory when they see the exciting things they can create and how they can help solve some problems for real people. And this course has a very bright future ahead of it,” assures Ole Ravn.