President Kempen of the DHV further stated that in Rojas’s robotics projects the students are first taught the basics in lectures and seminars and then have an opportunity to design hardware and software for robots by working in hands-on projects. Kempen said Rojas combines research and teaching in an exemplary manner and helps inspire young people to go into technical professions.
Professor Rojas first drew attention through international successes that his research teams won with their FU-Fighters and FUmanoids in the Soccer World Cup competitions for robots. Further attention came through the autonomous vehicles that student research teams at Freie Universität have been working on since 2006. Freie Universität Berlin's autonomous vehicle has a legal permit for both city and freeway driving and regularly drives on Berlin's streets under the supervision of the scientists.
Raúl Rojas González, born in 1955 in Mexico City, majored in mathematics and physics in Mexico and later in economics and social sciences at Freie Universität Berlin. He completed the habilitation process for teaching at German universities in 1993 in the subject of computer science with an emphasis on artificial neural networks. From 1994 to 1997 he was a professor of artificial intelligence at Martin-Luther-Universität in Halle-Wittenberg, and since 1997 he has been teaching at Freie Universität. He has received numerous awards, including the European Software Award, the first Wolfgang von Kempelen Prize for computer science history, and the Technology Transfer Prize from the Berlin Technology Foundation. Rojas is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the recipient of the Gold Medal of Science and Technology of Mexico City. Just four weeks ago in London, he was honored by the Computer Conservation Society for his outstanding contributions to the history of computer science, in particular with regard to the technical and theoretical reconstruction of major computing machines.
The German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV), with more than 28,500 members, is the nationwide professional association of researchers in Germany. The association has been selecting a University Teacher of the Year annually since 2006, and in 2010 it already went to a researcher at Freie Universität Berlin. At that time Prof. Dr. Heather Cameron was honored for her commitment to Boxgirls International, a project that encourages socially disadvantaged young women to participate in society.