MnDRIVE: Robotics, sensors, and advanced manufacturing in Minnesota

CSE takes state-funded initiatives to the next level

In 2013, the University of Minnesota partnered with the State of Minnesota to launch a partnership that would align areas of research strength with the state’s key and emerging industries. The Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE), which received $22 million annually, supported five strategic areas at the University: Robotics, Global Food, Environment, Brain Conditions, and Cancer Clinical Trials.

The MnDrive Robotics blue logo

The UMN College of Science and Engineering led the MnDRIVE initiative on robotics, which included the areas of sensors and advanced manufacturing as well. Two outcomes of this initiative are the founding of the Minnesota Robotics Institute (MnRI) and the Center for Excellence in Sensing Technologies and Analytics (CESTA) on the Twin Cities campus.

Research highlights

Ph.D. student Matt Hausladen with a soft robot in the lab

Soft robots that grow like plants

The new discovery enables the robots to reach hard-to-reach places, complicated terrain, and potentially areas within the human body.

Diagram for the DISTROY robot design

Virtual reality and robots are taking over the COVID-19 clean-up job

A robotics team is using virtual reality technology to clean areas potentially infected by SARS CoV-2 virus.

A woman wakesurfs behind a boat on a lake

MnDRIVE-funded startup delivers tech research to market

Low-cost, magnetic sensor technology being used to improve the efficiency and usability of wake boats.

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