Wise wins coveted Engelberger Award


Melonee Wise, a MechSE Distinguished Alumna, has been named one of six recipients of the world's most prestigious robotics honor.

Written by

Melonee Wise
Melonee Wise

Melonee Wise (BSME '04, MSME '06), a MechSE Distinguished Alumna, has been named one of the six recipients of the 2022 Engelberger Robotics Award, the world’s most prestigious robotics honor.

The six honorees were selected by the past chairs of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) Technology Strategy Board. Wise was selected in the area of technology. Her honor will be celebrated at Automatica in Munich on June 20.

Previously the CEO of Fetch Robotics until its acquisition by Zebra Technologies in 2021, Wise now serves as the vice president and general manager of Robotics Automation for Zebra. For nearly 20 years, Wise has been designing, building, and programming robotic hardware and software. She was the second employee at Willow Garage, a research and development laboratory specializing in robotics, where she led a team of engineers developing next-generation robot hardware and software. In 2014, she and other members of Willow Garage founded Fetch Robotics, which is best known for its autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for warehouses.

“I’m truly honored to receive the Joseph Engelberger award for Technology,” Wise said. “Just as Engelberger forged the path of industrial robots in manufacturing automation, the Fetch Robotics team has followed in his footsteps to bring AMRs to the forefront of manufacturing and logistics automation. I am deeply inspired by Engelberger’s work, and with Zebra, I hope to continue to push the boundaries of robotics technology to enable the adoption of robotics in new industries and applications.”

The Engelberger Robotics Award is named after the late Joseph F. Engelberger, known throughout the world as the founding force behind industrial robotics. Since its inception in 1977, the Engelberger Robotics Award has been presented to 134 robotics leaders from 17 different nations for excellence in technology development, application, education and leadership. Each winner receives a $5,000 honorarium and commemorative medallion.

“As the robotics industry grows, so does our list of extremely talented nominees deserving of this coveted Engelberger Award,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “In their unique ways, each of these six remarkable individuals have played prominent roles in shaping the robotics industry we’re a part of today, from educating future roboticists to advancing the role of mobile, industrial and collaborative robotics in manufacturing facilities and warehouses alike. We expect more great things from this year’s winners and look forward to celebrating them at Automate and Automatica.”

The other winners are Bertil Thorvaldsson of ABB for leadership, Bruno Siciliano of the University of Naples for education, Michael P. Jacobs of Applied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) leadership in automation, Oussama Khatib of Stanford University  for education, and Marc Raibert of Boston Dynamics for technology.

Share this story

This story was published April 27, 2022.