MnDRIVE: Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy

Robotics, Sensors, and Advanced Manufacturing

The challenge

Solutions to many grand challenges are enabled by technological innovations and tools. Broadly defined, robotics, sensors, and advanced manufacturing are enablers of modern life, augmenters of human capabilities, and creators of the technological and economic benefits that follows a healthy, flexible, and humane manufacturing base. The subject of this initiative is by nature broad, and applications of the technologies and systems are diverse. The challenges that are addressed by the initiative range from scientific/technological base to applications that include medicine, sustainable agriculture, environmental monitoring, intelligent systems, and security to name a few.

The vision

MnDRIVE initiative on robotics, sensors, and advanced manufacturing will:

  1. advance the state of knowledge and the art in the broad areas represented by robotics and automation, sensors and sensing systems, and advanced manufacturing;
  2. facilitate and support interdisciplinary collaborations in the applications of these technologies for societal and economic benefit; and
  3. educate an innovative workforce using the "magic" of robots to reach out to the public while attracting K-12 students, particularly from under-represented groups, to STEM disciplines.

Robotics, autonomous systems, and modern manufacturing systems are fundamentally structured on the integration of sensing, feedback and controls, and actuation. The MnDRIVE initiative on robotics, sensors, and advanced manufacturing envisions the University of Minnesota playing an vital role in bolstering Minnesota’s positions of leadership in sensors, robotics and automation, and as a contributor to the renaissance of domestic manufacturing, particularly additive manufacturing.

The initiative will provide critical innovations, education, and training in relevant disciplines in engineering, materials science, computer science, and mathematics, and application domains. In addition, partnerships in the areas of the initiative with industries in technology, healthcare, food, and agriculture will be strengthened to the economic benefit of the State of Minnesota and its citizens. Immediate examples of application areas include precision agriculture, environmental monitoring, surgical robotics, and 3D printing.