A robotic system that moves a surgical instrument in response to the actuation of a control panel that can be operated by the surgeon. The robotic system has an end effector that is adapted to hold a surgical instrument such as an endoscope. The end effector is coupled to a robotic arm assembly which can move the endoscope relative to the patient. The system includes a computer which controls the movement of the robotic arm in response to input signals received from the control panel. The robotic system is mounted to a cart which can be wheeled to and from an operating table. The cart has a clamping mechanism which attaches the cart to the table. The system also contains a spring loaded mount plate that allows the robotic arm to be rotated and adjusted relative to the cart and the patient. Both the robotic arm and the control panel are encapsulated by protective bags that prevent the system from being contaminated.