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Robocoaster And Universal Robots Joint Winners Of The 8th IERA Award At AUTOMATICA
Two pioneers in robotics win for commercialized innovations in safety and simplicity
By RBR Staff


The 8th annual Invention and Entrepreneurship Award in Robotics and Automation (IERA) was presented to Gino De-Gol, Robocoaster Ltd. and Esben H. Østergaard, Universal Robots during the IERA Networking Dinner at the AUTOMATICA on Tuesday in Munich.

“It was hard to decide on the winner because the five finalists presented fantastic and outstanding projects”, said Shinsuke Sakakibara, IFR President and member of the Awards Committee.

“The two winners are excellent examples of the exciting pioneering work that is being done in advanced robotics and is now being commercialized into real world applications in emerging markets.” explained John Dulchinos, Adept Technology and member of the Awards Committee. “The important advancement in safe robots for the entertainment industry by RoboCoaster and the development of a new generation of simple robots for SME’s by Universal Robots not only represent positive steps forward for the robotics industry but also reflect businesses that have successfully translated technology into commercial success.”

Raj Madhavan, Vice President of IEEE-RAS Industrial Activities Board and Chairman of the Awards Committee added: “Esben H. Østergaard, Universal Robot presented a flexible, light and easy-to-use 6-axis industrial robot arm that will enable small and medium enterprises to compete efficiently in the marketplace. Gino De-Gol received the award for paving the ground of using industrial robot systems in entertainment, motion simulation and medical applications, in particular for establishing new business opportunities for industrial robots by developing RoboCoaster systems for various uses in the entertainment industry and theme parks with a perfect safety record.”

“I was very pleased to have been selected as a finalist for the IERA award, especially as the other finalists’ submissions were so strong. It really underpins how this prestigious award has the global power to draw exciting applications” stated Gino De-Gol of RoboCoaster Ltd. “Finally winning the IERA award was an incredibly proud moment for me, and I share it with all of my colleagues and associates that have supported both mine and RoboCoaster’s journey.”

“The important advancement in safe robots for the entertainment industry by RoboCoaster and the development of a new generation of simple robots for SME’s by Universal Robots not only represent positive steps forward for the robotics industry but also reflect businesses that have successfully translated technology into commercial success.”John Dulchinos, Adept Technology and member of the Awards Committee


“We are very happy about the IERA-Award. This award recognizes the common achievements of all employees of Universal Robots as of our global 75 distributers. Moreover, the award demonstrates that our vision of a flexible, user-friendly and secure robot became true: The UR5 is commercially successful and optimizes the productions especially of smaller and medium sized companies, for which the heavy and expensive automation technology was not in question so far. This makes me proud - also as scientist in the field of robotics.” explained Esben Østergaard.

Founded in 2000, RoboCoaster Ltd. is a motion specialist in the field of entertainment and has successfully applied many breakthrough technologies for advanced ride systems and services. Home of the first passenger carrying industrial robot rides, RoboCoaster and its partners have developed and license some of the world?s most successful amusement ride solutions, ranging from compact family entertainment centre systems to super complex theme park solutions.

Universal Robots was founded in 2005 with the declared goal to make robot technology accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises. The establishment of the company was made possible by an investment by Syddansk Innovation, a Danish public investment fund. The company today belongs to a group of financially strong public and private investors. Universal Robots has expanded its business to include the whole of Europe, with the region of Germany, Austria and Switzerland representing a major target, but also parts of Asia and America.

The other three finalists were:
Michele Guarnieri, HiBot Corporation,Expliner - Robot for Inspection of very high Voltage Transmission Lines
Steffen Gutmann, Evolution Robotics, MintTM: The First Intelligent Mopper and Sweeper Robot
Torsten Kroeger, Reflexxes GmbH, The Reflexxes Motion Libraries    

In 2005 the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE/RAS) and the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) agreed to jointly sponsor the Invention and Entrepreneurship Award. The purpose of this award is to highlight and honor the achievements of the inventors with value creating ideas and entrepreneurs who propel those ideas into world-class products. At the same time the joint disposition of the award underlines the determination of both organizations to promote stronger collaboration between robotics science and robotics industry. The annual presented award consists of a plaque and a $2,000 honorarium.


Previous winners are:

  • 2005 Joe Jones, (i-Robot, USA), Roomba vacuum cleaner robot
  • 2006 Rainer Bischoff (KUKA Roboter, Germany), collision-avoiding industrial robots
  • 2007 Hugh Durrant-Whyte (Patrick Technologies, Australia), port automation robotic systems
  • 2008 Mick Mountz, Pete Wurman and Raffaello D’Andrea (Kiva Systems, USA),  cooperating mobile robots for logistics;Thomas Brandstetter, Dieter Steegmueller and Michael Zuern (Daimler, Germany),  cooperating stationary industrial robots used for assembly
  • 2009 Yoshiyuki Sankai, (Cyberdyne Inc., Japan),Robot Suit HAL
  • 2010 Alexander Verl, (Fraunhofer IPA, Germany), Inline Measurement Robots
  • 2011 Bruno Maisonnier, (Aldebaran Robotics, France), Humanoid Robot NAO

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