Esben Østergaardn of Universal Robots wins Engleberger Award 2018

Esben Østergaard, co-founder and CTO of Universal Robots, has been awarded the automation industry’s most prestigious honor, the Engelberger Robotics Award 2018.


The American Robotic Industries Association (RIA) has announced that Esben Østergaard is the recipient of the Engelberger Robotics Award 2018. Østergaard spearheads the development of Universal Robots’ collaborative robot arms representing one of the most significant technology breakthroughs coming out of the robotics community in decades. The Engelberger Awards Dinner and Ceremony will be held at 6.30pm CET on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany as part of Automatica 2018 and the International Symposium on Robotics.

President of RIA, Jeff Burnstein, calls the Universal Robots CTO a visionary in defining a new category of robotics. “His work in the field of collaborative robot applications has allowed robots to enter previously unthinkable sectors in just about every industry,” says Burnstein. “Esben Østergaard’s emphasis on robots that work side-by-side with people and are easy to use has created enormous interest among many small and medium sized companies who never even considered robots before. In a world that is increasingly characterized by people and robots working together, Esben’s pioneering technology advances play a pivotal role.”

Universal Robots’ 2008 launch of the world’s first commercially viable robot able to operate safely outside enclosures alongside people came at great financial risks in a market unaccustomed to human-robot collaboration. Yet Esben Østergaard and his team prevailed by offering the industry a robot that was not only safe to work with but also lightweight, easy to use and flexible. These accomplishments have placed Universal Robots as the unrivaled market leader of collaborative robots – also referred to as “cobots” – with a current 58% share of all cobots sold worldwide, posting a rapid 72% growth in 2017.

“I’m deeply honored to win the award named after Joseph Engelberger, who revolutionized industrial manufacturing with robotics,” says Esben Østergaard. “Engelberger’s view that a robot should be able to handle a range of tasks in a factory aligns with Universal Robots’ core mission, and I’m a great admirer of his work.”

Read the full press release here.