Manchester centre to design AI-enhanced robots for real world applications

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The University of Manchester has launched a new centre of excellence dedicated to designing the next generation of robots supported by AI technologies.

The Manchester Centre for Robotics and AI pulls together experts and projects from across the academic disciplines who share the challenge of working on the front line of applied robotic technologies.

Manchester researchers are looking to develop robotic systems that are able to explore in the most extreme environments, such as those found in the nuclear industry, power generation or agriculture. Other expertise includes designing robots to support digital manufacture or work in the field of medicine and health.

While driving developments in cutting-edge robotic systems, the new multidisciplinary centre also commits to ensure autonomous systems are compatible with the values and expectations of society.

Some of the Manchester-led research work will include:

  • designing control systems with a focus on bio-inspired solutions to mechatronics, eg the use of biomimetic sensors, actuators and robot platforms;
  • developing new software engineering and AI methodologies for verification in autonomous systems, with the aim to design trustworthy autonomous systems;
  • researching human-robot interaction, with a focus on the use of brain-inspired approaches to robot control, learning and interaction; and
  • research in ethics and human-centred robotics issues, for the understanding of the impact of the use of robots and autonomous systems with individuals and society.

The new centre has already hosted an inaugural workshop – attracting more than 90 delegates – to bring a strategic focus to the robot and AI community at Manchester, and looks to share expertise and innovation.

“Robotics is now an important field that can be found in research areas across the University’s academic portfolio – which is not surprising, as robotic and autonomous systems are being applied in all parts of our lives,” said Professor Richard Curry, vice-dean for research and innovation in the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering

“With the launch of this new Manchester centre of excellence in robotics and AI we are providing a new focus to our multidisciplinary, world-class work in this field – and so I encourage colleagues to take the opportunity to think big in terms of the direction of research.”

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