U of I robotics center will connect training facilities and fill labor gap

MOSCOW, Idaho — The University of Idaho College of Engineering launched the Center for Intelligent Industrial Robotics (CI2R), integrating new robotics research and training labs across the state to prepare students to fill the global shortage labor in the manufacturing sector.

The center connects newly constructed robotics training facilities statewide that provide students with hands-on experience solving complex robotics problems. CI2R connects the U of I’s growing network of labs through video teleconferencing and greater course availability, expanding education and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students across the U of I. idaho in the fields of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and industrial automation.

The effort addresses labor shortages in robot manufacturing, which industry leaders say must be reversed to meet growing demand. According to the Manufacturing Institute, by 2030, 2.1 million manufacturing positions will remain unfilled. The global market for robotic manufacturing systems will double by 2026, Business Wire projects.

“We are leading the way in addressing workforce challenges that impact our state and our nation,” said Suzanna Long, dean of the College of Engineering. “Continuing our more than 60 years of industry partnerships and 30 years of leadership in cybersecurity education, the new center prepares the U of I to create a strong workforce capable of meeting the needs industry reviews.

Backed by the Idaho Forest Group, one of America’s largest robotic sawmills, the U of I College of Engineering has built a new lab – the Robotics, Automation, and Mechatronics Lab – on its Moscow campus .

Videoconferencing between the new lab and the U of I Coeur d’Alene Idaho Forestry Group’s Robotics and Automation Lab allows the center’s faculty, staff, and doctoral students from multiple disciplines to teach students from both places. Students have direct access to mobile robots, mechanical arms, and a variety of simulation equipment in both labs. The Coeur d’Alene laboratory was built in 2020.

“With unique lab access and faculty mentorship, we are creating a new generation of skilled professionals capable of developing complex hardware and software robotic solutions that will strengthen our global industrial manufacturing capabilities in Idaho and across national,” said CI2R Director John Shovic, Associate Researcher. faculty at the U of I Coeur d’Alene.

Engineering students from all disciplines can take courses in advanced robotics, real-time operating systems, industrial computer programming, computer vision, artificial intelligence, and data science.

Undergraduate and graduate robotics engineering certificates will be offered in fall 2023. Robotics course offerings will expand in Moscow and Coeur d’Alene. The labs should be fully usable in all courses by spring 2023.

Media note: Courtesy photos and videos are available for download in an online gallery. Contact Jodi Walker at [email protected] for assistance.

Media contacts:

John Shovic
Director of the Center for Intelligent Industrial Robotics, Faculty of Research
208-659-5772
[email protected]

Gabriel Potirniche
Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Professor
208-885-4049
[email protected]

Jodi Walker
Senior Director of Communications
208-885-4295
[email protected]

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