RIA to present 2018 Engelberger Robotics Awards
May 26, 2018 - The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) has announced it will present the 2018 Engelberger Robotics Awards to Gudrun Litzenberger, the General Secretary of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) and Esben Østergaard, CTO and Cofounder of Universal Robots.
Litzenberger and Østergaard will be honoured at a special ceremony on June 20 in conjunction with automatica and the International Symposium on Robotics in Munich, Germany.
The award is named for Joseph F. Engelberger, known throughout the world as the ”father of robotics.” The Engelberger Robotics awards recognize outstanding individuals from all over the world. Since the award’s inception in 1977, it has been bestowed upon 126 robotics leaders from 17 different nations. This year the awards will be presented in the categories of leadership and technology. Each winner receives a $5,000 honorarium and commemorative medallion.
The Engelberger Robotics Award for Leadership is awarded to Litzenberger.
Litzenberger joined the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) in 1986. In 2002 she transitioned to the VDMA Robotics+Automation Association where she took responsibility for statistics in the fields of robotics, assembly technology and machine vision. After the foundation of the IFR Statistical Department in 2003, Litzenberger assumed responsibility for the World Robotics Statistics from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and compiled the annual study World Robotics from 2005. Over the years, World Robotics has developed into the international benchmark for global robot statistics covering all relevant market related activities of industrial and service robots. In 2008, Litzenberger was appointed General Secretary of the IFR. The IFR connects the world of robotics around the globe and now represents over fifty members from more than twenty countries.
“Gudrun Litzenberger has spent much of her career helping our industry better understand the size and scope of the global robotics market,” said Jeff Burnstein, RIA president. “Her work has established the IFR as the leading source of global robotics statistics during an era when the interest in robotics is growing exponentially. Furthermore, Gudrun has been a tireless advocate for our industry throughout the world.”
The Engelberger Robotics Award for Technology is awarded to Østergaard.
Østergaard is chief technology officer at Universal Robots, one of the inventors behind the UR cobots. During his years as researcher and assistant professor in robotics and user interfaces at University of Southern Denmark, he created the foundation for a reinvention of the industrial robot. In 2005, this led him to found Universal Robots together with two of his research colleagues. Besides his work as CTO Østergaard is participating in national research projects and he is also an external examiner at several universities in Denmark. Earlier in his career, he worked as a research scientist at USC Robotics Labs in Southern California and also at AIST in Tokyo as a visiting researcher.
“Esben Østergaard’s work in the field of collaborative robot applications has allowed robots to enter previously unthinkable sectors in just about every industry,” added Burnstein. “His emphasis on robots that work side by side with people has created enormous interest among many small and medium sized companies who never even considered robots before. In a world that is increasingly characterized by people and robots working together, Esben’s pioneering technology advances play a pivotal role.”
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