Welcome to the Home of Robotics at Waterloo

Waterloo Engineering has the largest and most active robotics and automation research group in Canada, supporting Canada's largest robotics and automation cluster (via WaterlooEDC).

With over 45 faculty members solving problems in advanced robotics, autonomous systems, human-robot interaction, and related fields, Waterloo is where the future of robotics is being developed.

Our mission is to make significant advancements in robotics, from fundamental research through design and development to commercial applications including robots that build cars, explore space, deliver coffee, defuse land mines, or perform surgery.

For more details, check out the Robotics @ Waterloo page.

What's the RoboHub?

The Waterloo RoboHub is the home of robotics at the University of Waterloo, bringing together all of the related technical, educational, research, and other services and experience into one central group.

Visit the About the RoboHub section of the website for more details on our team, fleet, facilities, and research themes.

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News

North America has 10 million kilometres of overhead power lines, and when vegetation come into contact with one, it can be like tinder to a flame.

“Once they come in contact with trees, the risk of forest fires increases,” says Anson Maitland (PhD ’19), co-founder of Enerza, a company at Velocity, University of Waterloo’s startup incubator. “With our robot, utilities can spot vegetation risks, corrosion or birds' nests near the line and send out a team to handle it.”

He says that much of North America’s power infrastructure was built in the 1960’s or 70’s. Power lines are often found in rural, forested areas and only monitored on average once every five years. While aware of the problem and eager for a solution, utilities companies don’t know where to best spend their operating dollars.

And without better monitoring tools, it’s difficult to know where and when to do maintenance.

“How would they know which ones to maintain or replace?” says Maitland. “With the robot they can inspect infrastructure more frequently and know with confidence when and where to replace power lines or trim trees.”

Enerza co-founder James Aein says the company’s tech is not just a robot but also a grid analytics platform. Just like a health care provider uses medical imaging to investigate patients’ health before invasive procedures, it gives utilities a whole picture of risks and maintenance needs.

Manmeet Maggu remembers being a fourth-year University of Waterloo student when his nephew, Praneit, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. With an illness that affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills, Maggu’s family braced for the reality that Praneit would never take his first steps.

Studying to become an engineer at the time, Maggu and classmate Rahul Udasi (BASc ’14) began searching for solutions. After no suitable options appeared, the pair put their mechatronic skills to work, applying what they had learned at Waterloo to address a global problem.

Smart cities are moving towards the automation of many essential services. Quality of life for city residents relies on the safety of its buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructures. Manual inspection of these infrastructures, besides being costly, is a tedious task that requires special skills and intense labour — especially when access to some sites, like bridges, is not easy. Due to the sheer number of bridges and inspection timelines, there is a critical backlog for inspecting bridges in Canada that requires an immediate solution.