University of Technology Sydney

41013 Robotics

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Engineering: Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 48623 Mechatronics 2
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses. See access conditions.

Recommended studies:

Maths review

Code review


This subject is an introduction to industrial robotics and the underlying algorithms and mathematics. Students develop an understanding of the representation of an industrial robot’s manipulator pose, kinematics and control. Students are given the opportunity to learn about the variety of robot manipulation tasks that are, or could potentially be performed by robots. In teams, students build their own simulated industrial robot. This includes the opportunity to model the robot arm then write control and planning software so that it can perform motion tasks.

This subject integrates safety into the design and working procedure, and encourages students to be aware of safety engineering to lower risk and prevent robot-related accidents from occurring. This subject also investigates ethical questions related to the inevitable increase of robots into industry and our daily lives. Discussions are encouraged around the implications these changes have on society, and specifically a human workforce that may no longer be required due to no fault of their own.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Describe mathematically and programmatically the relative position/ orientation of robots and objects
2. Describe which safety systems can be used in robotics and reflect on safety engineering in relation to robotics
3. Reflect on your learning of what robots are, their advantages/disadvantages, their future role, and ethical implications of robots on humans in the global community
4. Model robots in a workspace to enable collision detection and avoidance
5. Describe, implement and apply straightforward path planning techniques used for industrial robots

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

  • Socially Responsible: FEIT graduates identify, engage, interpret and analyse stakeholder needs and cultural perspectives, establish priorities and goals, and identify constraints, uncertainties and risks (social, ethical, cultural, legislative, environmental, economics etc.) to define the system requirements. (B.1)
  • Design Oriented: FEIT graduates apply problem solving, design and decision-making methodologies to develop components, systems and processes to meet specified requirements. (C.1)
  • Technically Proficient: FEIT graduates apply abstraction, mathematics and discipline fundamentals, software, tools and techniques to evaluate, implement and operate systems. (D.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies

This subject contributes to the development of the following Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies:

  • 1.3. In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
  • 1.6. Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
  • 2.2. Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
  • 2.3. Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
  • 3.3. Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour.
  • 3.5. Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.

Teaching and learning strategies

In this subject, students will be given the opportunity to learn through online lecture videos, interactive tutorial/lab classes, collaborative quizzes, external research and reflections. Students will be given formative feedback throughout the subject from academic staff whist completing weekly hands-on lab exercises and assignments, and formative and sumative feedback via online quizzes. Quizzes are low-stakes assessments that will both accumulate marks for the subject, but also require that if the student does not achieve the required benchmark, they will be required to re-complete the quiz as many times as necessary, and for no additional marks, until such time as they achieve the required understanding benchmark. Prior to attending classes, students are required to go through the allocated materials such as: watch the online lectures, read the designated textbook and attempt the lab exercises. Regular in-class individual quizzes will assess the students’ level of understanding and team quizes will encourage collaborative learning amongst the group as students are given many opportunities for interaction. Collaborative lab exercises and group discussions will be facilitated by academic staff such that the guided robotics learning exercise promote inquiry. Labs and assigniments are designed to present students with an opportunity to apply the theory from pre-work material, learn and to reinforce practical skills, as well as reflect upon their own level of understanding.

Students are expected to attend all classes during the teaching session.

Content (topics)

  • Foundations of robotics: kinematics and dynamics for manipulator and mobile robots.
  • Motion planning: path and trajectory planning with collision detection/avoidance.
  • Industrial robotics safety and ethical considerations.


Assessment task 1: Review Quizzes


These quizzes are intended to check the understanding of the pre-work so that the labs will be beneficial and everyone in the class is bringing knowledge which they can disseminate.


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

C.1 and D.1

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

Four (4) quizzes worth 5% each, totalling 20% of the subject mark.

Approximately 10 questions, generally everyone gets different values and question orders.

Must attempt at least twice at specified times during class:

1. 1st attempt is alone, with no talking, early in the class (30minutes total) in tutorial/lab designated sessions

2. 2nd attempt is later in the same class (20 minutes in total) in groups of 3 or less.

3. More attempts are not compulsory unless the benchmark has not been met. No score assigned given to additional attempts. Can be done anytime 1 week after.

Marks will be 80% of the 5% for 1st individual attempt, 20% of the 5% for group attempt.

Mark given is the average of the first 2 attempts. E.g. 3 students.

1. 4/10 on 1st attempt and 10/10 on 2nd (group) attempt. They will get 2.6% out of 5%. They do not need to redo the individual quiz in their own time until they reach the benchmark.

2. 8/10 on 1st attempt and 9/10 on 2nd (group) attempt. They will get 4.1% out of 5%. They do not need to redo the quiz in their own time but they may do it if they wish.

3. 4/10 on 1st attempt and 5/10 on 2nd (group) attempt. They will get 2.1% out of 5%.

Specific online formative feedback is returned immediately after quiz attempt is submitted. Generalised feedback will be given in class to address common difficulties students had with the questions.

The quiz is run in class with mobile phones, laptops, tablets or a lab PC.

Assessment task 2: Lab Assignment 1

  • Practical experience to describe mathematically and programmatically the position and orientation of links, joints and objects as well as the relationship between robot joint coordinates and tool pose
  • Collaborative learning experience through modelling and software development enabling improved understanding of the mathematical, algorithmic and control principles of robot arms
  • Improve Matlab coding skills and ideally check the code online
  • Reflect upon experience and the advantages, disadvantages and usefulness of these robots

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1 and D.1

Type: Laboratory/practical
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

Assessment task 3: Lab Assignment 2

  • Practical experience describing and modelling robots for a purpose.

  • Present the system including the safe guards that were engineered into the solution during the submission day scheduled lab class.

  • Authentic assessment by each group (groups of 3 or less) will be given a different scenario that is relevant challenges in robotics research and in industry right now e.g. in the home, in the office, in the kitchen, in a construction site, on a bridge, in a rail maintenance yard, in a car assembly plant. Each environment will have a similarly shaped object, that is application specific, which must be avoided or interacted with.

  • Make the system do a specified task (given an obstacle/object of your choosing which is programmed into the system).

  • Plan between multiple points whilst clearly avoiding the obstacles.

  • Consider possible system extensions.

Notes: Demonstration, technical, coding implementation, design and testing is done as a group and marked by tutors. Uses Spark to self/group assess for group portion.

Note about demonstration mark: is marked subjectively by tutor 50% and by an average of all members in other groups totalling 50%. Marks given for complexity and competency of task completion.


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1 and D.1

Type: Laboratory/practical
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 45%

Assessment task 4: Reflection on Societal Impact of Robotics and Robot / Environment Interaction Modeling

  • To check that the mathematical modelling and software skills in the subject material has been understood
  • To discuss and design safety into a system
  • To discuss the implications of robots on the workforce, industry and society

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1 and D.1

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 15%

Minimum requirements

In order to pass the subject, a student must achieve an overall mark of 50% or more.

Required texts

Robotics, Vision and Control: Fundamental Algorithms in MATLAB (Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics) 1st ed. 2011 Edition, by Peter Corke (Author). Soft copy is available for free at the UTS Library

Other resources