Robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) technology has the potential to revolutionize many aspects of life. The combination of affordable processing power, advances in machine learning algorithms and the ever growing range of robotics and sensor technologies are helping to fuel rapid advancements in this field. In recognition of the potential benefits RAS technology, the UK-RAS Network was established in March 2015. Loughborough University is a member of the UK-RAS Network, and is particularly active in three areas of research:
1. The EPSRC Centre for Intelligent Automation, a national centre focused the application of intelligent automation in industry.
2. LUCAS, Loughborough University Centre for Autonomous Systems, focused on the development of autonomous ground and air vehicles.
3. VAHC, Vision, Autonomous and Human-Computer Systems, focused on advanced image analysis, coding and computational intelligence technologies that can be used to implement autonomous or decision support systems.
In this lecture, we present our vision for the future of industrial robotics. We will explain how a multi-disciplinary approach is required to deliver useful, robust and intelligent automation in a variety of tasks and applications. Building on this we will share our experience of developing RAS technology for industrial and manufacturing applications; concluding with what we believe are the key barriers that must be overcome before successful large scale implementation of RAS technology will be possible.