The Oxford Robotics Institute (Department of Engineering, University of Oxford) will play a key role in two of the four new Robotics Hubs announced this week by EPSRC as part of their £44.5 million investment over the next three and a half years into Robotics and AI.  

The ORI researchers led by Dr. Maurice Fallon, Dr. Ioannis Havoutis, Prof. Nick Hawes and Prof. Paul Newman will make key contributes to two hubs, RAIN and ORCA:

  • The Robotics and AI for Nuclear Hub (RAIN) will focus on improved inspection and monitoring of nuclear facilities. This Hub brings together the expertise of the Universities of Manchester (lead), Oxford, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Lancaster, Bristol and the UKAEA’s RACE centre
  • The Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets Hub (ORCA) will develop technology for subsea, ground and aerial inspection and asset management in the offshore and oil/gas domain. This Hub brings together the Universities of Heriot Watt (lead), Oxford, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Imperial College London.

The Hub research will build on ORI’s strengths in mobile navigation and autonomy to achieve productivity gains by deploying robots in these dangerous and dirty environments.

ORI will contribute research in legged robotics (including the newly established Dynamic Robotics Systems Lab), aerial robotics and also the verification of autonomous system behaviour.

Prof Newman, Director of the ORI, said “This is a fantastic opportunity for the newly formed ORI to be contributing in this challenging robotics research agenda. From legged robots to flying vehicles, ORI academics will be pushing boundaries on what machines can do for us in some pretty tricky places.”

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Photos: ORI Robots inspecting the JET Fusion Reactor in RACE and Keble College’s Acland House