Roland Siegwart

Interview Location: Switzerland

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Roland Siegwart discusses his career and work in robotics. Describing his involvement at Stanford, EPFL, and ETH, he outlines his contributions to the field. He comments on the state of robotics in Switzerland and the challenges of small-scale robotics, and describes the various influences and applications of his work.


Roland Siegwart was born in Switzerland in 1959. He received his Diploma and Doctoral Degree in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich in 1983 and 1989, respectively. Following this, he served as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University for a year. Returning to Switzerland, he worked part-time as the Research and Development Direvtor at MECOS Traxier AG, as well as a lecturer and deputy head at the Institute of Robotics, ETH Zurich from 1991 to 1996. In 1996, he was appointed as Professor of Autonomous Microsystems at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where he later helped direct the School of Engineering from 2002 to 2006, and served as funding chairman of the Space Center. As of July 2006, he has served as a full Professor of Autonomous Systems at ETH Zurich, and from January 2010 to December 2014 he took office as Vice President of Research and Corporate Relations in the Executive Board. Siegwart is also a board member of the European Network of Robotics (EURON), and served as Vice President for Technical Activities (2004/05) and is currently Distinguished Lecturer (2006/07) of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. Siegwart's research interests include the design and control of systems operating in complex and highly dynamical environments, including personal and service robots, planetary exploration robots, autonomous micro-aircrafts and driver assistant systems.