Automation is an aspect of everyday life, and is expected to further increase with time. Some of the most exciting technological problems, with the potential for large-scale societal impact, are related to automation. Some categories include transportation, health care, logistics, and public safety.

Long-Term Federal Investment

At the US National Science Foundation (NSF), robotics is a major part of multiple programs, including Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation which focused on soft robotics, the National Robotics Initiative and Cyber-Physical Systems program. In fact, robotics is a core part of many of the initiative in NSF’s 10 Big Ideas. 

Robotics, including manipulation, human-robot interaction, intelligence and perception are critical parts of many Department of Defense research programs. In fact, the DoD plans to invest over $2 billion over the next five years in artificial intelligence research, which encompasses many aspects of robotics.

A Career for the Future

Jobs in robotics fall within two broad categories - mechanical robot design and computer and information sciences. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both are projected to grow rapidly over the next decade. Growth in mechanical engineering jobs is expected to be about 9% and growth in computer and information science jobs is expected to be about 19% from 2016-2026.

A Masters degree in engineering provides many long-term benefits. According to the National Research Council, “data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) reveal that median salaries of master’s degree recipients one to five years after the degree was conferred tend to be higher than those of doctorates. More importantly, salaries of master’s degree holders in science and engineering have grown faster over the past 10 years than salaries of baccalaureate or doctorate holders.”