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We are pioneering robotics research that will revolutionise the global economy over the next 20 years: spanning the nuclear, space and the offshore industries, transport, healthcare and manufacturing.

Professor David Lane CBE, Director, Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

New generations of smart robots are revolutionising how tasks are carried out. Professor David Lane and the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR) research new ways to make robots interact; with the environments around them, with people, with each other and with themselves.

They study the sensing, world modelling, planning and control architectures that can make robots persistently autonomous, operating in unknown environments for extended periods. They investigate shared autonomy where people and robots operate in highly synergistic ways to complete tasks. They observe nature to develop bio-inspired systems that sense and process data using methods that have evolved in biological organisms.

Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh jointly run the ECR, supported by over 40 industrial partners, this £100M research investment includes a state-of-the-art equipment facility for research and knowledge exchange, and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, producing 100 innovation-ready PhD graduates. This is now set to become the UK’s NATIONAL ROBOTARIUM, as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Real-world impact

Robotics has been identified by the Scottish and UK Governments as a key growth area and our significant robotics research concentration is already contributing towards the drive to revolutionise manufacturing, healthcare, offshore energy, construction, environmental monitoring and defence.

£14.6M funding has been awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the £36M Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets Hub or ‘ORCA Hub’. Professor Lane is leading the consortium together with the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, University of Oxford, University of Liverpool and 31 industry partners, to develop robotics technologies for use in extreme and hazardous environments.

Read more.

Read about Heriot-Watt's Year of Robotics 2017.