• The University of Sheffield

Building a Future with Robots

Explore the role of robots and autonomous systems in the factories, homes, hospitals, schools and cars of our near future.

23,798 enrolled on this course

A kilobot swarm
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Explore the future of robotics in factories, homes, hospitals, schools and cars

In the near future, many of us will work alongside robots. Knowledge of robotics and autonomous systems will be a helpful skill for a surprising number of today’s careers.

On this course, we’ll look at current and future developments in the field of robotics that could shape many different aspects of our daily lives. We’ll build up a picture of the principles and the fundamental challenges of robotic design, and demonstrate how research here at The University of Sheffield is working to overcome some of these challenges.

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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?

This course looked at current and future developments in the field of robotics that could shape different aspects of people’s daily lives. It built an understanding of the principles and fundamental challenges of designing robots including:

  • What a robot needs to be able to sense the world using drones, youBots and autonomous cars as examples.
  • Current and future developments in robotics and how and where they are being applied.
  • How robotics can take inspiration from nature looking at swarm robots and biomimetics.
  • How robots work with others for example, a robot surgeon and a robotic arm.

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 open to anyone with an interest in robotics. It will be of particular interest to engineers, designers, technicians and enthusiasts who are keen to explore the role of robots in our economic and industrial future.

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.

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

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Get a taste of this course

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

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