For the second time within five years, a key figure at Universal Robots, the Danish manufacturer of collaborative robots (cobots), has been awarded the world’s most prestigious robotics prize, the Joseph F. Engelberger Robotics Award, often described as the Nobel Prize of robotics.
Following in the footsteps of Universal Robots’ co-founder Esben Østergaard, who was given the Engelberger Award in 2018 in the Technology category, Roberta Nelson Shea (main picture), Universal Robot’s Global Technical Compliance Officer, has received the award for Applications at a ceremony at the Automate Show in Detroit.
The Application category recognises individuals or organisations that have made a significant contribution to the development of robotics technology and its practical application. Roberta won the award for her outstanding work related to robotics safety across the world.
Shea says: “I am extremely honored to be receiving this award. I see it as an acknowledgement of not just my own work, but also of Universal Robots’ and Teradyne’s commitment to safety. This award is a recognition of all who have contributed to robot safety over the years.
“When I started in this field more than four decades ago, I felt I had a personal mission and that there was no one else who signed up for it with me. Now, especially after the emergence of collaborative robot applications, we are all aligned on the importance of safety.”
In recent years, other women have received Engelberger Awards, and this is another indication of how robotics has evolved since Roberta first started in the industry in 1982.
“Luckily, I am not the first woman to receive this award, but with women still being outnumbered in the robotics industry, I hope my career can also be an inspiration to younger women because they have an important role to play in the future development of both robotics and technology in general.”
Kim Povlsen, President, Universal Robots has also acknowledged Roberta’s achievements.
Povlsen says: “This award is a testament to the great contribution Roberta has made to the robotics industry. In robotics, and especially when it comes to cobots, safety is always the top priority.
“Roberta’s dedication to safety has helped create the standards for the interaction between people and robots. This has been a vital contribution to the collaborative relationship we see today between humans and cobots across thousands of workplaces.”