Mechatronic engineering is concerned with the design of automated machines. It is strongly based on a combination of mechanical, electronics and software engineering, but is a distinctly different discipline to all three.

Mechatronics engineering differs from automation engineering in that its practitioners have a deep understanding of the performance analysis and design of complex machines. It differs from mechanical engineering in that its practitioners understand how automations can be designed and integrated into a machine very effectively to achieve an outcome. A mechatronics engineer is capable of thinking holistically about a mechatronic system, rather than focussing on certain domain specific elements such as the mechanical system or the software. An understanding of how to model a system from a power perspective (rather than thinking in terms of voltages or forces) is fundamental to this.