Mobile Autonomy: Enabling a Pervasive Technology of the Future

Prof. Paul Newman, Prof. Ingmar Posner, Prof. Marta Kwiatkowska, and Prof. Niki Trigoni are proud to announce they have been awarded an EPSRC Programme Grant.

VisionTo create, run and exploit the world’s leading research programme in mobile autonomy, addressing fundamental technical issues which impede large-scale commercial and societal adoption of mobile robotics.

AmbitionWe need to build better robots – we need them to be cheap, work synergistically with people in large, complex and time-changing environments, and do so for long periods of time. Moreover, it is essential that they are safe and trusted. We are compelled as researchers to produce the foundational technologies that will see robots work in economically and socially important domains. These motivations drive the science in this proposal.

Strategic Aim: This is not a pure curiosity-led research programme; we are driven by both fundamental robotics questions and real world applications. The technical appendices will make this clear, posing a sequence of inter-related and co-dependent Challenges which range in nature from basic research (Technology Readiness Level 1), to more applied research questions (TRL3). Oxford has built a robotics research environment designed to host this activity. It has, via an EPSRC Equipment Grant, been equipped with first class facilities, so with this Programme Grant can attract the best researchers from around the world.

ScopeThis proposal is all about endowing machines with the fundamental properties that make them viable to society: operational trust, safety, durability, scale and cost. We have a clear scope in mind: ground-based mobile robotics whose societal and industrial footprint is vast. Consequently, this programme grant impinges on, at a minimum, personal transport, security and defence, inspection, warehouse and factory automation, space exploration, built infrastructure monitoring, construction, logistics and agriculture. There are no existing Programme Grants in the mobile autonomy area; this proposal makes the case for starting one. Robotics is now named as one of the UK’s “Eight Great Technologies” and hence a first class ambitious research programme in mobile autonomy is vital. The research programme will generate the researchers and expert staff that will form the “people-backbone” of the UK’s sovereign capability in mobile autonomy. It will back up a national strategic aim with a carefully-considered and coherent program of research, which pre-empts the problems of cost, reliability, scale and trust which lurk just over the horizon.

Flagships: Flagships lie at the heart of this proposal. A Flagship is a thread of work tied to a physical robot (a self-driving car for example), a demonstration programme, and an application domain. Flagships force integration and innovation, which is essential to robotics research, making them an embodiment of our work. As is the case for a Theme, each Flagship has an individual who leads the activity. He or she works with the P.I., RA’s and Theme-leaders to deliver a continual process of integration, trials activity and technical feedback.

 

Space

http://ori.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Space-Rover-8-of-10.jpg Our Space Robot is a Q14 robot from Advanced Robotics Concepts. With active 4 wheel steering and drive, a passive ...
Read More

Inspection

http://ori.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Snake-Arm-14-of-14.jpg Many inspection tasks are too dangerous for humans to undertake – for example carrying out surveys in mines, nuclear ...
Read More

Warehousing

http://ori.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Oxford_Robotics_by_John_Cairns_27.9.16-044.jpg Robots have been used for some time in warehouses and hospitals, moving materials around with speed, accuracy and efficiency, ...
Read More

Light Transport

The LUTZ project will see Pods deployed in the streets of Milton Keynes in 2016 running the complete autonomy system ...
Read More

Survey

Surveying is an important part of our work. Many of our algorithms rely on detailed and accurate surveys of the ...
Read More

Off Road

We look forward to rolling out our autonomy expertise to off-road applications on our Clearpath Grizzly robot. The Grizzly is a ...
Read More

RobotCar

We are not condemned to a future of congestion, accidents and time wasting. We will eventually have cars that can ...
Read More