The Netherlands is one of the leading global innovators in service robotics and robots. While LEO's mission is to further strengthen and promote the eastern Netherlands as one of the most innovative regions in the world, it would be shamefull to ignore other important developments going on in the Netherlands.
Robotics in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world with an organized robotic sector. RoboNED is the Dutch branch organization that brings different stakeholders from all over the country together. They focus on influencing national policies through roadmaps and strategic agendas. Almost all organizations, both commercial and non-commercial, that are working on or with robotics are associated with RoboNED.
Knowledge institutions and robotics
The Netherlands has a broad array of high-quality universities, both academic and applied sciences. There are three technical universities that focus as a innovation hubs for developments around robotics. These are the TU Eindhoven, the TU Delft, and off course the University of Twente, which is one of LEO's primary members and one of Europe's leading organizations in a number of specific robotic niches. However, developments do not stop there. Most universities do some research on the field of robots and have their own areas of interest. Wageningen University for example focuses on robotics in food and agriculture, and Saxion Enschede is one of the applied sciences universities with an own lectorate on mechatronics and robotics.
Robots in Twente and Overijssel
The University of Twente is the most influential player regarding robotics in Overijssel. With 800+ spin offs in a variety of technological sectors an entire economy has been started surrounding their campus. The field of robotics is no exception. With several academic departments focussing on different aspects of robotics, the University of Twente is an international leader in a number of areas and is responsible for a growing number of start ups in robotics, including DEMCON, Clear Flight Solutions and KITE Robotics.
Businesses and robots
More and more corporations are strategically positioning themselves into robotics. Interestingly, these companies are not just focusing on industrial robotics anymore, but a significant portion of them is focusing on a wide variety of sectors, such as health care (e.g. DEMCON Advanced Mechatronics), rehabilitation (e.g. Roessingh Research and Development, Hankamp Rehab, Assistive Innovations, and Focal Meditech), rescue and search missions, agriculture (e.g. Schuitemaker), professional services (e.g. KITE Robotics), and even in areas where we don't even have a label yet (such as Clear Flight Solutions). As all forecasts point toward a signifcant growth in the coming years, and even a double digit growth for service robotics, this trend is likely to continue.
At any one time there are dozens, probably even hundreds, of projects going on in robotics in the Netherlands. However, due to the innovative nature of the sector, a large portion of these projects are deemed confidential for the time being. At LEO we strive for transparancy and we urge our members to show what they are doing. An overview of some of these diverse project can be found on our 'Robot projects page'.
A different (althoug perhaps slightly outdated) overview comes from RoboNED which performed an inventory in 2010 on activities in the robotic industry. The results can be found here.