A Legacy of Advancing Automation

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) is the global advocate for the benefits of automating. As the largest robotics and automation trade group in the world, we proudly represent over 1,280 member companies, promoting automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done.

To celebrate our golden anniversary, we honor our history, thank our valued members, and set our sights on what comes next. Join us in commemorating a legacy of innovation and progress paving the way for the future of automation.


Timeline of the Association for Advancing Automation    See A3's 50 years in action


Robot Institute of America (RIA) is founded by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and is headquartered in Dearborn, MI.



First Robots Show is co-located with the Assemblex III show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.


Inaugural Joseph F. Engelberger Awards, the “Nobel Prize of Robotics,” takes place with Professor Yukio Hasegawa of Japan winning its first award.


Bernard Sallot creates an independent RIA separate from SME, changing its name to the Robotic Industries Association.



Donald Vincent becomes the RIA President and leads the organization for 24 years, retiring in 2007.


Founding of Automated Imaging Association (AIA) to help support and grow the use of vision and imaging technologies.

RIA publishes the first Industrial Robot Sales Statistics, solidifying itself as a trusted resource on market trends for the robotic industry. Vision & Imaging and Motion Control & Motors stats follow several years later.


The Robot Safety Standard (R15.06) is published, putting RIA on the map for its global leadership in safety and standards. New editions are published in 1992, 1999 and 2012.

RIA moves its headquarters to Ann Arbor, MI.


First National Robot Safety Conference takes place, becoming a trusted source on robot safety and risk assessment for nearly 35 years.


AIA produces the first vision shows with Vision East taking place in Boston, MA and Vision West in San Jose, CA.

Vision Show East

The 1999 edition of R15.06, an ANSI (U.S.) Standard, is provided to ISO to serve as the starting point for a new ISO (international) Standard on industrial robot safety.

Camera Link is released and hosted by A3, becoming the vision industry’s first standard camera interface protocol.


Founding of Motion Control Association (MCA), the most trusted resource for motion control information, education and events.

The 1999 edition of R15.06, an ANSI (U.S.) Standard, is provided to ISO to serve as the starting point for a new ISO (international) Standard on industrial robot safety.

GigE Vision is released by AIA, becoming one of the dominant camera standards in machine vision.


Jeff Burnstein becomes RIA President and leads global advocacy of automation in North America, Asia and Europe.

Jeff Burnstein


The Robots, Vision & Motion Control Show rebrands to the first-ever Automate Show co-located with the ProMat Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.


Certified Robot Integrator (CRI) Program and Certified System Integrator (CSI) Program are established to help end users find competent, qualified system integrators to help them deploy robotics and vision.

Certified Vision Professional (CVP) program launches, offering training and certification for individuals working in the vision and imaging industry.

Camera Link High Speed (Camera Link HS or CLHS) is released, becoming a leader for camera interfacing and higher-precision imaging.


Debut of the annual A3 Business Forum, the automation industry's best and most anticipated networking event, in Orlando, FL.

Business Forum

USB3 Vision is unveiled by AIA with easy plug-and-play compatibility, changing the game for machine builders and embedded applications.


First A3 Collaborative Robots Workshop is hosted at The Vision Show in Boston, MA.


Founding of A3 Mexico, the only trade group organized specifically to serve the automation industry in Mexico and Latin America.

A3 Mexico

Certified Motion Control Professional (CMCP) program launches, offering training and certification for those working with motion control, motors and automation technologies.


First A3 Autonomous Mobile Robot Conference is hosted in Louisville, KY.



A3 hosts Automate FORWARD, a robust and best-in-class virtual show and conference experience, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Automate Forward


The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) becomes one trade group, merging the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA-Advancing Vision + Imaging, Motion Control and Motors Association (MCMA), and A3 Mexico while expanding to serve the artificial intelligence tech sector.

Founding of A3’s Artificial Intelligence group and appointment of the Artificial Intelligence Technology Strategy Board to help industrial automation companies navigate the AI landscape.

AUTOMATE.ORG becomes the official home of the unified A3 and a hub for all automation industry resources.


Automate Show and Conference returns to Detroit, MI, becoming an annual standalone event.

Automate Show


A3 introduces “AI for Industrial Automation” training course at the AI & Smart Automation Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.

A3 reaches record-high membership with 1,280 member companies.


A3 celebrates 50 years of serving the robotics and automation industry.

Automate Show and Conference is set to take place in Chicago, IL as the largest solutions-based showcase of automation solutions and education in North America.

Automate Show

“From a handful of competitors to over 1,280 members. Now that’s success. Congratulations!”

— Donald Vincent,
RIA President from 1983–2007

“The success of A3 for the past five decades is directly attributable to the unflagging support of our members, the incredible advances in automation technology, and the resilience and talent of the team we’ve assembled.”

— Jeff Burnstein,
A3 President from 2007–Present


Are you ready to be a part of the legacy? Join us as a member company and let’s shape the future of automation, together.