Prof. Dr. Ing. Gerd Hirzinger
Prof. Dr. Hirzinger received his Dipl.-Ing. Degree in 1969 and doctor’s degree in 1974 from the Technical University of Munich. In 1969 he joined DLR (German Aerospace Center) where he became head of the automation laboratory in 1976 and started robotic activities at DLR. In 1991 he received a joint professorship from the Technical University of Munich. Since 1992 he has been director at DLR’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, which is one of the biggest and most acknowledged centers in the field worldwide, including not only robot development for space and terrestrial applications, but also aircraft control and optimization (including UAV’s and solar-electric stratospheric flight), vehicle technology (e.g. autonomous electro mobility) and medical technology (in particular surgical robots). He was the first one to send a small robot into space (1993 with space shuttle COLUMBIA) and remotely control it from ground. He has published more than 600 papers in robotics, mainly on robot sensing, sensory feedback, mechatronics, man-machine interfaces, telerobotics and space robotics. His technology transfer efforts have generated several hundred high-tech workplaces in industry. He has rejected a number of offers for chairs in European universities and has received numerous high-ranked national and international awards, e.g the IEEE fellow, pioneer and field awards, the AIAA space automation and robotics award and in Germany among many others the Leibniz-award (Germany’s highest ranked scientific award) and the order of merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was elected as a member of both German science academies (Leopoldina and Acatech). And he is now technology advisor of the Bavarian State Government and co-founder of the high-tech-startups Time_in_the_Box (digital cultural heritage based on 3D-world modelling) and ELEKTRA UAS (unmanned solar electric flight).