Universal Robots founder Esben Østergaard steps down

Esben Østergaard Universal Robots co-founder and CTO wins robotics Engelberger Award

Esben Østergaard, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Universal Robots A/S, today announced on LinkedIn that he is stepping down.

“Today is a very special day for me — it was the last day I was working at Universal Robots,” he began in a brief video. “It is a company I founded 14 years ago, and it has been of course a big, big part of my life … growing from this garage project, nerdy project where we just wanted to build a robot that was easy to use and could work alongside people and then to this thriving business … and then to this global concept.”

Universal Robots is the market leader in collaborative robot arms or cobots. The company has recently built up its ecosystem of support with its UR+ online showroom of partner accessories, its free UR Academy training program, and its e-Series line of updated cobots.

Universal Robots is also one of the anchors for the robotics cluster around Odense, Denmark. For example, Kristian Kassow, another UR co-founder, recently founded Kassow Robots.

Teradyne Inc. acquired Universal Robots for $350 million in 2015, and Teradyne has since then added Mobile Industrial Robots ApS (MiR), a Danish maker of mobile robots, for $272 million. Teradyne also bought Cambridge, Mass.-based engineering, integration, and control firm Energid last year.

Østergaard noted that Universal Robots has won about 35 awards. He himself won last year’s Engelberger Award for industry leadership. (This year’s awards will be presented at Automate next month.)

“At some point, you also have to say that if you want to try something new in life, maybe now is the right time for me,” said Østergaard, who did not specify what he’ll be working on next. He did say that there are many things that could be improved in the world of technology.

The Robot Report will continue to follow this developing story, and we wish Østergaard good luck with the next chapter of his life.

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