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April 2022

6 Robotics Pioneers Win 2022 Engelberger Awards

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) announced its six recipients of the 2022 Engelberger Robotics Awards: Michael P. Jacobs of Applied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), Oussama Khatib of Stanford University, Marc Raibert of Boston Dynamics, Bertil Thorvaldsson of ABB, Bruno Siciliano of the University of Naples Federico II and Melonee Wise of Zebra Technologies.

A3 will present three of the awards to Jacobs, Khatib and Raibert at the Automate 2022 Show and Conference in Detroit. The awards for Thorvaldsson, Siciliano and Wise will be presented at Automatica in Munich.

The Engelberger awards recognize leaders in robotics for excellence in technology development, application, education and leadership. Since they began in 1977, 134 roboticists from 17 different countries have been recognized.

A look at the winners

(left to right, starting top left): Michael Jacobs, Oussama Khatib, Marc Raibert, Bertil Thorvaldsson, Bruno Siciliano and Melonee Wise. Source: A3

The honorees were chosen by the past chairs of the A3 Technology Strategy Board. Two of this year’s winners are being honored for their leadership, two for education and two for technology.

Micheal P. Jacobs, the founder and CEO of AMT, is being honored for his leadership. Before founding AMT, he pioneered the product development and market introduction of robot simulation and offline programming systems at GMF Robotics, now FANUC.

Bertil Thorvaldsson, the general product manager at ABB, will also be honored for his leadership. Thorvaldsson joined the company in 1976.

Oussama Khatib, a roboticist and professor of computer science at Stanford, and Siciliano, a professor of automatic control at the University of Naples Federico II, were both awarded for education. Khatib is credited with seminal work in several areas, including robot motion planning and control, human-friendly robot design, haptic interaction and human motion synthesis.

Bruno Siciliano is an Italian engineer and scientific populizer. At the University of Naples Federico II, Siciliano is the director of the ICAROS Center and coordinator of the PRISMA Lab at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology.

The last two recipients, Marc Raibert and Melonee Wise, were awarded for technology. Raibert is the founder, former CEO and currently chairman of Boston Dynamics. Wise was the CEO of Fetch Robotics. In 2021, Fetch was acquired by Zebra Technologies, where Wise now serves as General Manager of Robotics Automation.

The Engelberger Award is named after Joseph F. Engelberger, the founding force behind industrial robotics. Each winner receives a $5,000 honorarium and commemorative medallion.

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