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 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. 

Supported by over 40 industrial partners, the Centre's research operations include the Robotarium, 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.

Real-world impact

In a collaboration with NASA, Professor Lane and the team are working on improving the physical and computational abilities of a 1.8 metre, 125 kg humanoid robot called The Valkyrie; the only robot of its type in Europe, and one of only three prototypes in the world.

NASA hopes to equip the Valkyrie to go to the Red Planet many years before astronauts are able to make the journey, for pre-deployment tasks and to maintain assets on Mars. Valkyrie's human-like shape is designed to enable it to work alongside people, or carry out high-risk tasks in place of people.

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