• The University of Sheffield

Building a Future with Robots

Explore the everyday roles robots will play in the future, from job automation and medical science to our homes and cars.

23,715 enrolled on this course

A kilobot swarm

Discover how robots will change every aspect of our lives in the future

“Robots and autonomous systems are set to change our lives in the not-too-distant future; from travel (self-driving cars), to work (job automation), to medicine (biomedical robots), and even domestic life (household robots).

On this course, we’ll look at current and future developments in the field of robotics. You’ll learn how robots sense the world around them, how robotics takes inspiration from nature, and how robots will work with humans.

You’ll build up a picture of the principles and the fundamental challenges of robotic design, and demonstrate how research is working to overcome these.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds [A woman strokes toy-like robot animals] [The robot animals respond to the woman’s touch] [CAPTION:] ‘Will I help you feel better?’ [CAPTION:] ‘Will I help you learn?’ [A surgeon directs robotic arms to perform an operation] [CAPTION:] ‘Will I save your life?’

Skip to 0 minutes and 31 seconds [A technician operates a robotic arm lifting objects in a laboratory] [CAPTION:] ‘Will I work beside you?’ [CAPTION:] ‘Will I help you move things?’ [A small remote controlled drone flies inside a warehouse] [CAPTION:] ‘Will I find you if you’re lost?’ [A large number of small robot units activate and move together] [CAPTION:] ‘Will we repair the oceans?’

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds [CAPTION:] ‘See what we can do…’ [CAPTION:] ‘Building a Future with Robots’ [CAPTION:] ‘A free online course from the University of Sheffield’ [CAPTION:] ‘Search ‘Future Robots’ at www.futurelearn.com. #FLRoboFuture’

What topics will you cover?

“Robots and autonomous systems are set to change our lives in the not-too-distant future; from travel (self-driving cars), to work (job automation), to medicine (biomedical robots), and even domestic life (household robots).

On this course, we’ll look at current and future developments in the field of robotics. You’ll learn how robots sense the world around them, how robotics takes inspiration from nature, and how robots will work with humans.

You’ll build up a picture of the principles and the fundamental challenges of robotic design and learn to demonstrate how research is working to overcome these.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the main challenges of working with autonomous systems and the ways in which we might meet these challenges.
  • Explore some basic principles of robotic design.
  • Apply knowledge of where developments in robotics are heading and their potential effect on our future.
  • Explain existing and potential real-life robotic applications.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in learning about the role that will be played by robots in the future.

It will be of particular interest to aspiring mechanical, automotive, and robotics engineers, product designers, technicians, and enthusiasts who are keen to explore the role of robots in our everyday, economic, and industrial futures.

What do people say about this course?

Wide in scope of applications and very thought provoking.

"Enjoyable course; wide in scope of applications and very thought provoking, particularly on ethical issues."

It introduced many of the issues surrounding robotics.

"Really enjoyed the course. It introduced many of the issues surrounding robotics, and gave an insight into research and development, and offered a taste of what is yet to come."

Who will you learn with?

Sandor M Veres is professor of Autonomous Control Systems at the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.

Recommended

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe to Unlimited

Join with limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$49

One-off payment

$27.99/month

Automatically renews

Free

Unlock your expertiseAccess hundreds of coursesTry this course - with limits
Access to this courseticktickLimited to 3 weeks
Access to ALL eligible coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Buy this course

Ways to learn

Subscribe to Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses or buy just this course for extra benefits. Or, join with limited access.

Subscribe to Unlimited

$27.99/month

Automatically renews

Access hundreds of courses

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Buy this course

$49

One-off payment

Unlock your expertise

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Join with limited access

Free

Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 3 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #FLRoboFuture to talk about this course on social media.