Professor and two students outside looking at a robot.

What is Robotics Engineering?

Robotics engineering is a multidisciplinary field including electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering. It deals with designing, building, operating, and engineering robots and robotic systems based on theoretical understanding and practical application.

Robotics engineering covers a broad spectrum of tasks composed of conceptualizing designs, developing systems, and crafting operational algorithms. Robotics engineers play a critical role in every step of the lifecycle of robots and robotic systems. Common tasks include evaluating the performance of robotic systems, identifying areas for enhancement, and conducting rigorous testing protocols to ensure compliance with industry standards prior to widespread deployment and utilization.

Robotics engineering brings together creativity, technical know-how, and problem-solving skills. It's an exciting field that studies the latest and multidisciplinary engineering technology. Whether it's creating autonomous vehicles and drones, robotic systems that work with humans in manufacturing, or cyber-physical humanoid machines, robotics engineering sets the stage for a better tomorrow where humans and machines work together seamlessly.

What Do Robotics Engineers Do?

A robotics engineer develops robotic applications across many industries, including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, defense, agriculture, and healthcare. Robotics engineers work on designing, building, and operating robots and robotic systems.


Robotics engineers conceptualize robots and robotic systems, create blueprints and schematics for robots, and determine their physical structure, components, and functionalities.


Robotic engineers develop robots and robotic systems using a combination of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering principles and technologies including selection and integration of the necessary components, such as sensors, actuators, motors, and controllers.

Robot in the field being tested.
Once the robot is assembled and programmed, it undergoes extensive testing to ensure it functions correctly and reliably.


Robotics engineers write code to control the behavior and motions of robots and robotic systems. Programming languages, such as C++, Python, or specialized robot operating systems (ROS), are used in this task.


Robotic engineers run testing to confirm that robots and robotic systems operate correctly and safely as designed, built, and programmed by simulating possible application scenarios, troubleshooting technical issues, and optimizing algorithms.

Operating and Maintaining

Robotics engineers are also responsible for diagnosing problems, replacing faulty components, and implementing modifications to continuously enhance functionality throughout the lifecycle of robots and robotic systems.

What Careers are There in Robotics Engineering?

Many different types of robotics engineering are available for you to choose from, with specialties that fit an individual's interests and skills.

Robotics engineers work in every sector of industry including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, defense, agriculture, and healthcare. Some examples include but are not limited to:

  • Aerospace and space technology
  • Automation
  • Automotive
  • Computer software development
  • Consumer electronics
  • Control systems
  • Cybernetics
  • General robotics
  • Healthcare
  • Intelligent systems and manufacturing
  • Medical robotics

Robots and robotic systems are used in various fields, which creates numerous opportunities for robotics engineers.

What Skills Do Robotics Engineers Need?

Robotics engineers need to have keen interest in working principles of components and systems as they need to be able to design, build, test, and operate robots and robotic systems. It is required that robotics engineers understand electronics, mechanics, control, and software of robotic systems. Additionally, robotics engineers are required to have skills of strong mathematics in design and analysis, computer programing for controlling robotic systems in different environments, and problem solving in operating and troubleshooting robotic systems in real world applications. Creativity is highly valuable, as is the ability to communicate in written and oral forms.

How Much Do Robotics Engineers Earn?

Robotics engineers are well paid, with above-average earnings in each stage of their careers from an entry-level salary of $81,743 to the top 10 percent making $134,000 (Payscale).

Robotics Engineering Salaries
Mean Entry-Level Salary Mean Annual Salary Top 10 Percent
$81,743 $93,375 $134,000

Figures from, accessed May 2024.

See additional engineering salary information.

The Future of Robotics Engineering

The future of robotics engineering has numerous possibilities that could impact industries, daily life, and society. One critical impact is on automation in manufacturing, mobility, and productivity. Another area for impact is collaborative robotics, where robots work alongside humans and assist human activities, leading to safer and more efficient workflows.

Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning also drive progress in robotics engineering. AI enables robots and robotic systems to perceive and adapt to given environments and makes them highly intelligent and autonomous. Additionally, there is a growing interest in robots and robotic systems for applications in healthcare and smart home systems. Robotics engineering is anticipated to enhance productivity, improve quality of life, and address societal challenges in the future.

Robotics Engineering at Michigan Tech

Robotics Engineering Degrees

Michigan Tech's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is a world leader in quality education—preparing students for careers in industry, academia, or government. Our bachelor's program in robotics engineering allows students to design robots, maintain them, develop new applications for them, and conduct research to expand the potential of robotics. This is a rapidly developing field, with advances in computing constantly opening up new possibilities for robotics applications.

Our robotics engineering degree program brings together a set of courses and disciplines that will ensure you are well-rounded in the various aspects of a robotic system—electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and applied computing. As a robotics engineer, you will be fluent in these disciplines and understand how to apply them in robotic systems such as autonomous vehicles and automation design in manufacturing. You'll also understand how to interface with robotic systems and anticipate the full impacts of robotic systems on human endeavors.

Take hands-on courses on microcontrollers, electrical machinery and drives, control systems, and robot operating systems. Laboratory experiences start early in the second year to give you direct experience with your own set of equipment. These labs are taught in a one-student-per-bench model. Through individual effort, you'll become comfortable with the equipment and prepared to move forward in the program.

Our lectures are taught by faculty—all of whom have open office hours where students can seek homework help and additional academic support. We take pride in strong faculty-student interactions. Some of our faculty members are Michigan Tech graduates and have been instrumental in shaping the program from both personal and industry perspectives. All 20 members of the ECE Advisory Board members are from top levels of major US corporations.

Two students looking over a robot with screen.
Engineers do a lot of things, but there's one thing we do first and foremost: we help people. We use creative ideas and technologies to solve problems in healthcare, energy, transportation, hunger, space exploration, climate change, and more—much more. Become an engineer who is ready for what tomorrow needs.

MTU engineering

Real Engineering. Meaningful Work.

Taking part in Michigan Tech's award-winning Enterprise teams, robotics engineering students get started by solving real-world engineering problems with ample opportunities to develop the interpersonal, and leadership skills needed for future career success.

  • Robotic Systems Enterprise is a key element of the robotics engineering degree program for many of our students. Team projects include the SAE AutoDrive Challenge and a project sponsored by the Ground Vehicle Systems Center using leader-follower convoys of Clearpath Jackal vehicles.
  • Blue Marble Security Enterprise team works with a low-cost Pick and Place, a robot that can identify and sort components. The team also works to create digital twins, functioning virtual models of a production cell using a physics-based 3D model and a VR component.
  • Aerospace Enterprise team members design and build microsatellites and nanosatellites. One of the team's satellites, Oculus, is now in orbit—launched by the United States Department of Defense. Two more satellites, Stratus (funded by NASA) and Auris (funded by AFRL), have won competitions and will launched in the next few years.
  • Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise (MINE) team members design, test, and implement robotic technologies for extreme environments. They participate in NASA's Lunabotics Challenge competition and build and test robotic vehicles and technologies directly related to state-of-the-art research.