Centre for Automation and Robotic Engineering Science

​​Our purpose is to research, inspire and create innovative solutions that improve societal wellbeing. We are committed to developing​​ ​robotic ​technologies that​ deliver benefits to society and ​inspire and train the next generations of RAS researchers.

The Centre for Automation and Robotic Engineering Science (CARES) advances knowledge, capability, and innovation in robotic, automation, and sensing (RAS) research across Aotearoa New Zealand. 

We deliver high impact and internationally-renowned robotics research and technologies, and are changing the world by providing innovative and effective solutions to challenges in healthcare, manufacturing, primary industries, education, service industries and fundamental science. 

Our mission is to create RAS technologies that improve societal wellbeing, and inspire and train the next generations of RAS researchers. We aim to continue establishing ​Waipapa Taumata Rau,​​ ​​the ​University of Auckland as New Zealand’s leading university in RAS, and place CARES at the global frontier. 

Our research

Our drivers for RAS adoption are to increase productivity, and improve quality and human worker experiences. We focus on the interaction with humans and important social and cultural RAS challenges, such as responsibility, ethics, bias in decisions, nature of human work and trust.

We have a highly talented and diverse team of software, mechanical and electrical engineers, health practitioners, gerontologists and psychologists who are highly collaborative throughout all stages of research and consistently involve end users and stakeholders in the design and development of solutions. 

We are already cross-pollinating knowledge and innovation across a range of disciplines including Engineering, Science, Humanities and Health, focusing on four broad, transdisciplinary RAS themes:

  • Interact — how interactions between humans, robots & automation create better outcomes.
  • Sense — how an automated system can understand the dynamic, unstructured environment surrounding it.
  • Plan — what control and planning techniques an autonomous system needs to make decisions and command complex tasks in dynamic environments.
  • Act - how we should design mechanisms and control systems to act effectively in dynamic, unstructured environment.

At CARES, we continue to deliver impact through our science, co-designing projects with stakeholders. Our impact record includes:

  • Kiwifruit pollination and picking, and apple picking 
  • Delivery robots 
  • Oldercare and dementia care robots 
  • Service robots 
  • Anthropomorphic robot hands 
  • Sensors for knee rehabilitation 
  • VR Training for Cane Pruning 
  • Automated analytic process technology for quality control 
  • Digital twins for decarbonised processing

How can you work with us?

Based at New Zealand’s leading university, we have access to the largest research commercialisation company of its kind in Australasia, UniServices, and have established commercial and research partnerships across the globe. 

We partner with​,​ engage ​and co-design ​in strategic research conversations with a broad range of research groups, companies, institutions and governments. 

The CARES team values collaborations and are interested in discussing new ideas and solutions to today​’s​ and tomorrow’s challenges. We would love to hear from new partners in industry, government, academia ​and​​ the community.  

If you are interested in working with us, please contact our centre’s Director​ and ​​Research Centre ​Manager​.

Our people

Professor Bruce MacDonald

Research Centre Manager 
Jenny Curtin

Business Development Manager | UniServices
Luke Spencer

Our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi

We understand the need ​​to develop Māori engagement and capacity, which is something that we have been working on since CARES began in 2015. ​

Associate Professor Marama Muru-Lanning, director of the James Henare Māori Research Centre (JHMRC) is a valued CARES member, involved in projects within CARES, enriching the work and increasing understanding of kaupapa Māori and Vision Mātauranga in our non-Māori members. 

We have built enduring relationships with Māori groups and iwi through our research projects, which we ​continue to maintain and strengthen.