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Introduction to Robotics: Robotics and Society

Learn how robots are used in society today and explore how they might help solve the big issues of our time.

17,177 enrolled on this course

A small toy robot
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Explore how robots are used in mechanisation, exploration, and building

Robots were once only found in fiction, but today they have become an important technology used widely in society. They mechanise industrial tasks, help us explore places humans can’t go, and can even help heal us.

On this three-week course, you’ll examine your perceptions of robotics, and how attitudes previously formed from fiction are significantly different to how robots are used today.

You’ll delve into the true role of robots in our society and be able to define a real robot, and what they can do. You’ll also investigate the importance of robotics as a field to understand their capabilities and the opportunities for the future.

Identify the ethical considerations of using different types of robots

You’ll discover the different types of robots and how they are applied to help us in a variety of ways, including exploring and monitoring our world.

You’ll also examine the ethical, privacy, and safety considerations of using robotics, particularly when we look at solving societal challenges. Just because we can use robots, does that mean we should?

Examine the role of robots in the future as a useful technology

On the course, you’ll be encouraged to join discussions on using robotics in the future.

You’ll learn how robots could be used to overcome challenges such as food production, ageing population, transport, and environmental change, and discuss the effects this could have on our society.

You’ll predict and reflect on the future role of the development of robotics, and gain a deeper understanding of how robots and humans interact.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds When I say robotics, what is it that you imagine? Do you picture your favourite robots from fiction? There are many, many depictions of robots in fiction. There are robots in books, in TV series and in the movies. But robots today are a very real technology and a very, very useful technology. There are an increasing number of applications of robots in our society. Robots build things for us, they help us explore and monitor our world, and they can even heal us. Robotics is a an important technology. It’s an important technology today, and it will be more important in the future. My name’s Professor Peter Corke. Please join me as we explore the role of robots in our society.

What topics will you cover?

  • The importance of robotics as a field
  • How ideas and attitudes towards robots have formed from fiction
  • Defining a real robot
  • How different types of robots are being applied today
  • Ethical, privacy and safety considerations of using robotics
  • Predicting the role of robots in future work
  • How robotics might be applied to help solve society’s big challenges: food production, ageing populations, transport and environmental change

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...

  • Explain what robots are and what they can do
  • Discuss the ethical considerations of using robots to help solve societal challenges
  • Reflect on the future role and development of robotics in human society

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in discovering how our society currently uses robots, and how we might use them to solve big challenges in the future.

You don’t need any robotics knowledge or experience to join this course.

What software or tools do you need?

Everything you need to succeed in this course is provided. There is no specific equipment or software required.

Who will you learn with?

Professor of Robotic Vision at QUT and Director of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision (ACRV). Peter is also an IEEE fellow and on the editorial board of several robotics research journals.

Dr Pepperell completed his PhD in robotic vision at QUT in 2016, with a research focus in vision-based place recognition.

Hello! I'm Obadiah, a sessional academic at Queensland University of Technology. I've taught robotics and control engineering courses and MOOCs, and have worked as a robotic vision researcher at QUT.

Hello! I'm Dorian, a PhD Researcher with the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision researching computational imaging and light field cameras for more robust robotic vision with transparent objects.

Who developed the course?

Queensland University of Technology

QUT is a leading Australian university ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide by the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Located in Brisbane, it attracts over 50,000 students.

  • Established

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 180Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019

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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