Reconfigurable Autonomy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Automatic Control and Systems Eng

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications

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Aitken J (2014) Adaptation of System Configuration under the Robot Operating System in IFAC Proceedings Volumes

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Aitken J (2018) Autonomous Nuclear Waste Management in IEEE Intelligent Systems

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Chen Q (2015) Virtual Spring-Damper Mesh-Based Formation Control for Spacecraft Swarms in Potential Fields in Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics

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Costalago Meruelo A (2016) Improved system identification using artificial neural networks and analysis of individual differences in responses of an identified neuron. in Neural networks : the official journal of the International Neural Network Society

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Dennis L (2014) Practical verification of decision-making in agent-based autonomous systems in Automated Software Engineering

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Dennis L (2014) Reconfigurable Autonomy in KI - Künstliche Intelligenz

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/J011843/1 01/06/2012 25/10/2012 £489,242
EP/J011843/2 Transfer EP/J011843/1 24/04/2013 23/11/2016 £443,918
 
Description We have created the theory and algorithmic implemnetation of reconfigurable agent based control systems for autonomous operations of vehicles and robots. The theory enables reduction of computational complexity through its organisation of the system architecture and planning methods. New system configuration as well as realtime reconfiguration are enabled by the theory in terms of efficient computation. Example implementation has been created within an sEnglish based rational agent programming environment. Current work aims at demonstrations on a number of robots at Sheffield Robotics and Sellafield / RACE. We have built up a theory and algorithms of ROS based self-reconfiguration of robots. By the end of May 2016 the following has been achieved: 1. Architecture solutions for reconfigurable rational agent architecture has been defined under the ROS/C++ system using a specific BDI cognitive agent architecture similar to but modified relative to the Jason agent programming language.
2. Architecture has been defined under a sEnglish based algorithmic description of agent programming for embedded applications and is to be made open source and publicly available . By 2018 the applicability of the reasoning methodology has been demonstrated to Sellafield Ltd in terms of a robot arm setup at their Workington Inactive Lab: autonomous waste-object selection, decision making what to do with it, handling and packing it without human intervention. In 2018 new results have been developed on the integration of the theory of degradation, adaptation and self-reconfiguration of autonomous robots, currently being published in journals.
Exploitation Route Carried out work with industrial collaborators on demonstration scenarios: 1. NNL/Sellafield Ltd: autonomous robot arms reconfiguration for nuclear decommissioning operations with radioactive waste. 2. Working with SysBrain Ltd on reconfigurable robotic software development using their sEnglish based integrated software development environment. 3. Working towards our methods to be applied within the new EPSRC RAIN Hub until March 2021.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Retail,Transport

URL https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/acse/research/groups/asrg/acl/project2
 
Description Academic impact: The theory of reconfigurable autonomous systems have been developed through two approaches: 1. Agent reasoning based reconfiguration of hardware, software resources and capabilities in case of partial availability of the autonomous systems resources and performance. The results are applicable by autonomous systems and robotics governed by rational agents. 2. Middleware ROS (robot operating system) based self-reconfiguration methods for robots has been developed which is applicable in many robotic applications. Industrial Impact: 1. We have successfully demonstrated the potentials of using autonomous robot arms for nuclear decommissioning which will influence decision making by NNL and Sellafield about future investments into robotics. 2. Sellafield Ltd is adding £30k to the university's £20k funding for continuing the transfer of our results into in industry in a one year project.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description EPSR RAIN Hub - Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear
Amount £12,203,190 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R026084/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 03/2021
 
Description EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation Feasibility Study - Assessing Graphical Language for Interactive Co-Working (A-GRAfIC)
Amount £19,998 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 06/2016
 
Description EPSRC: Robotics Capital Funding
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 04/2017
 
Description Responsive mode
Amount £450,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 05/2018
 
Description Sellafield: Autonomous Robot Arms Development 
Organisation Sellafield Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are currently demonstrating at Sheffield Robotics a system, which is being implemented at a specially setup KUKA robot arm, to be transferred to Workington for Sellafield Ltd, where we have an industrial setup of robot arms for us. (We have already demonstrated sort-and-segregate capabilities which is an impact of our Reconfigurable Autonomy EPSRC project. )
Collaborator Contribution Dedicated KUKA robot arm and work area for us set up by Sellafield Ltd at their Workington Inactive Laboratory site.
Impact Continuation funding is currently sought from Sellafield Ltd and EPSRC acceleration funds to ensure utilisation of our results by Sellafield Ltd.
Start Year 2014
 
Description SysBrain Ltd : converting theoretical ideas into software 
Organisation SysBrain Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provides theoretical foundations for the reasoning of the agent architectures developed by the company.
Collaborator Contribution Provided free licence to the use of sEnglish Publisher, which is a natural language programming environment of Simulink/ROS based robots.
Impact Autonomous Surface Vehicles programming for Thales UK, Unmanned Aerial Systems self-tuning mid flight, programming of Sheffield Robotics drones (quad, hexa- and octo-copters) have been helped by the use of sEnglish Publisher in the work PDRAs and PhD students
Start Year 2008
 
Description TATA Motors: reliable autonomous vehicles 
Organisation TATA Steel
Department Tata Motors European Research Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution PhD studentship supervised to work on verification methodologies directly relevant to safe operation of autonomous vehicles to be designed by Tata Motors European Research Centre.
Collaborator Contribution Loan of steer by wire vehicle for development of reliable sensing and control at low speed urban operations of an autonomous vehicle.
Impact 2 PhD studentships, media publicity and Innovate UK award to ACSE Sheffield as part of an industry lead project by Floow Ltd.
Start Year 2014
 
Company Name SysBrain Ltd 
Description The company's strategy, on software development environments for autonomous robots, has been fundamentally influenced by a series of EPSRC research grants, starting from the natural language programming through to latest ROS based design systems of the company where robot decision making is verifiable by design. 
Impact The company's software, sEnglish Publisher, has been given with free licence to PDRAs and research students on all EPSRC research projects of the grant holder. This lead to application developments for autonomous surface vehicles with Thales UK, autonomous van with Tata Motors and to research carried out on autonomous drones at the university using the company's software. There was also an EU proposal with the participation of university partners: University of Surrey and University Liverpool where SysBrain Ltd was a key partner.
Website http://www.sysbrain.com
 
Description "Intelligent Flying Robots" - University of Sheffield Video, 26th June 2014. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This was a video produced to showcase work on quadcopters undertaken as part of this project. To date it has over 12,500 views on youtube.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u-j1x-QQuwo
 
Description "Quadcopter Demonstration of Simple But Effective Controllers" - University of Sheffield Video, 17th June 2015. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This video has been used to showcase an open day demonstration of simple controllers for quadcopters. It has been produced to attract students to the department, and filmed to show as a good example of how to demonstrate equipment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt0DMWdzuj4&feature=share
 
Description "Reconfiguring Robots Learn to Look After Themselves" - The Engineer Interview, 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact As part of the video work commissioned to show work on Quadcopters at the University of Sheffield this gained wider influence being mentioned in an interview piece for the Engineer: http://www.airspacemag.com/as-interview/quadcopters-teacher-180952408/?no-ist
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.theengineer.co.uk/reconfiguring-robots-learn-to-look-after-themselves/
 
Description "Smart Drones Scope Their Scenery" - New Scientist (One Per Cent) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact As part of the video work commissioned to show work on Quadcopters at the University of Sheffield this gained wider influence being mentioned in the print version of New Scientist Magazine in the One Per Cent Section: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229754-700-one-per-cent/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229754-700-one-per-cent/
 
Description "The Quadcopter's Teacher" - Smithsonian Air & Space August Interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact As part of the video work commissioned to show work on Quadcopters at the University of Sheffield this gained wider influence being mentioned in an interview piece for the Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine: http://www.airspacemag.com/as-interview/quadcopters-teacher-180952408/?no-ist
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.airspacemag.com/as-interview/quadcopters-teacher-180952408/?no-ist
 
Description Invited talk: Smart Robotics to Cafe Scientifique Pendle, May 2015. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was a talk given to the Pendle Branch of Cafe Scientifique on the future of Robotics. The audience were a collection of interested members of the public that requested a talk on the subject of robotics. There was a fascinating question and answer session following the talk which was especially pertinent as the event took place roughly a month after the Germanwings accident and the audience were very interested in how robotics could play out to prevent such occurrences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited talk: The Future Age of Robotics to Sheffield Rotary Club 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This was a talk given to the Sheffield Rotary Club on the future of Robotics. The audience were a collection of senior business leaders that requested an after-dinner speech on the subject of robotics. They were especially interested in the role that Sheffield is playing in the robotics revolution and responded warmly to the talk:

"We had the pleasure to listen to a fantastic, engaging and a thought-provoking talk about Robotics on our Monday's meeting."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Public Engagement (Sheffield) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 3 day event in different locations across Sheffield City Centre, consisting of talks and hands on demonstrations. Provided a demonstration which illustrated the benefits of an autonomous controller when conducting a complex aerial survey task with a remotely piloted aircraft. Gave members of the public the opportunity to take control of the demonstration, and ask questions about the technology involved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mobileuni
 
Description Public Engagement - University of Sheffield Discovery Night 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was a demonstration of flying quadcopters to members of the public from schoolchildren to adults. It's main aim was to inform them about flying vehicles, and the ways in which Autonomy can be applied. In this case using vision feedback to guide a quadcopter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/discoverynight/programme
 
Description Public Engagement - University of Sheffield Researchers' Night 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was a demonstration of flying quadcopters to members of the public from schoolchildren to adults. It's main aim was to inform them about flying vehicles, and the ways in which Autonomy can be applied. In this case using vision feedback to guide a quadcopter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Public Engagement - University of Sheffield The New Age of Robotics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was a demonstration of flying quadcopters to members of the public from schoolchildren to adults. It's main aim was to inform them about flying vehicles, and the ways in which Autonomy can be applied. In this case using vision feedback to guide a quadcopter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014