Want to learn about robotics? In this guide, we’ve listed the best robotics courses & certifications online to help you get started.
If you are interested in gaining a robotics certificate or specialization, then you have a plethora of options available to you. Many of these programs will instruct you on the principles of robotics and on how to properly work with machines that perform automated tasks.
Individuals who complete these programs tend to begin careers as robotics technicians, engineers, robotic process automation developers and in other roles.
Below you will find five programs that are the best of the robotics programs currently being offered in the field.
1. Robotics Specialization from The University of Pennsylvania (Coursera)
The online Robotics Specialization program offered by The University of Pennsylvania. The self-paced program is broken up into six courses taught by seven professors: Jianbo Shi (Computer and Information Science), Vijay Kumar (Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics), Daniel Lee (Electrical and Systems Engineering), CJ Taylor (Computer and Information Science), Daniel E. Koditschek (Electrical and Systems Engineering), Sid Deliwala (Electrical and Systems Engineering), Kostas Daniilidis (Computer and Information Science)
The six courses in the Robotics Specialization are:
- Robotics: Aerial Robotics – An introduction on how to fly robots through three-dimensional environments.
- Robotics: Computational Motion Planning – A course robots decide how to accomplish their assigned tasks.
- Robotics: Mobility – Introduces the abstractions of robot dynamics.
- Robotics: Perception – Covers how robots can maneuver and handle objects within their environments.
- Robotics: Estimation and Learning – Investigates how robots employ estimation and learning methods into their processes.
- Robotics: Capstone – Use knowledge gained in the prior courses to solve a real world problem.
- Start any course, pause or close your subscription whenever you would like.
- There is a hands-on project that completes the Robotics Specialization.
- Grants certificate that can be shared with your professional network.
2. Robotics Certificate from Columbia University (edX)
Length: 10 weeks
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This online course in robotics will provide you with the fundamental principles of robotics. Using mobile bases and robotic arms, methods will be used to navigate the robots around and through three-dimensional environments.
This Columbia University course will also use the Robot Operating System (ROS) for its course projects. Matei Ciocarlie, professor of Mechanical Engineering, is the instructor of the course. The course is estimated to take 10 weeks, assuming that you put in about 8 to 10 hours of coursework each week.
If you are planning on taking this course, keep in mind that it’s an advanced-level course. Prerequisites for this robotics course include the following:
- Introductory linear algebra at the college-level
- College-level Introduction to Calculus
- Introductory computer programming knowledge
- Knowledge of the python programming language, with C++ knowledge highly recommended
- How to construct representations of two-dimensional and three-dimensional space and homogeneous coordinates
- How to use robot arms through kinematic principles such as differential kinematics and forward kinematics
- Plan fully-designed robotic systems
- Work on current and future, hypothesized applications for robotics
- Program and control mobile robotic systems using motion planning and mapping representations
3. Modern Robotics from Northwestern University (Coursera)
School: Northwestern University
This online Northwestern University specialization focuses on evaluating, planning around and effectively controlling robotic motions. The Modern Robotics course is taught by Kevin Lynch, professor of Mechanical Engineering.
Below are the six courses found within this specialization in their proper order:
- Foundations of Robot Motion – Teaches you fundamental information for developing robotic configurations, including configuration space (C-space).
- Robot Kinematics – Instructs you on how to solve problems in forward kinematics, statics, inverse kinematics and velocity kinematics.
- Robot Dynamics – Teaches you algorithms for forward and inverse dynamics to assist you in simulations and in robotic control applications.
- Robot Motion Planning and Control – You will learn the principles and core concepts of robot motion generation, including motion planning methods and different types of robotic control mechanisms.
- Robot Manipulation and Wheeled Mobile Robots – Covers advanced issues in robotics, such as modeling robotic manipulation of objects.
- Capstone Project: Mobile Manipulation – You’re assigned a project that will incorporate trajectory planning, feedback control and other elements of the specialization.
- Will take roughly six months to complete
- Recommendation is 5 hours of coursework per week
- Self-paced with graded assignments and quizzes
4. Electricity & electronics – Robotics, learn by building (Udemy)
This online Udemy course is designed to teach you foundational principles of electronics as they are applied to the field of robotics. In this beginner course, you will learn how to construct analog electronic circuits and multiple other kinds of circuits.
Ian Juby is the instructor for this robotics course and he is a robotics engineer and professor at the Tech Valley Science Centre.
By the course’s end, you’ll have experience building circuits for sound effects, servo motors, bionically-controlled motors and light flashers. This is a module I course and is the prerequisite to module II, which is about digital electronics and working with computers.
A sample of the other topics covered in the course include the following:
- AC & DC Electricity
- Schematic Diagrams
- Microchips and the 555 timer
- Continuous Rotation Servos – Hacking Servo Motors
- Over 13,000 students have already enrolled in the course.
- Lifetime access to the full contents of the course.
- Offers 30 resources that can be downloaded any time.
- Some basic math skills and the purchase of some parts and tools will be necessary, with a tools and parts list provided in the course.
5. Arduino Programming and Hardware Fundamentals (Udemy)
This Udemy course will teach you fundamental programming and electrical engineering principles and give you practical knowledge for building circuits and creating programming code to control them.
You will learn how to build and control circuits that flash lights, sense environmental cues and develop robots. Additionally, you will learn how to pass programming signals through the internet to web-enabled devices, such as making a device produce a sound by interacting with your smartphone.
The instructors for this Arduino programming course are Shawn Hymel, an Electrical Engineer, and the Hackster online community of around 300,000 electrical engineers and developers from around the world.
Some of the topics covered in this Arduino Programming course include the following:
- Installing the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE; for Hands-On)
- Programming Conditional Statements
- Servo Motor Light Gauge Challenge
- Internet of Things (IoT) Button Challenge
- This course consists of 94 articles and 7 hours of video.
- Basic requirements are a computer (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux), simple algebra-solving skills and the online Arduino simulator.
- Hands-on experiences will require an Arduino board and compatible electronics which are discussed in Lecture 5.
If you are thinking of earning a certificate in the field of robotics, then the five robotics programs just mentioned should be on your short list. These programs all provide online training in electronics, programming and in robotics.
All of the programs offer you a substantial amount of time to complete all lectures, homework assignments, challenges and quizzes. They each provide their own hands-on projects for you to practice your new-found skills. Be sure to check these sites out to develop the skills and knowledge to excel in the field of robotics.