RoboHike: Autonomous Quadrupedal Robot Navigation and Hiking in Challenging Rough Terrains

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Computer Science

Abstract

Quadrupedal robots are gaining important capabilities, especially over the past decade, due to the rapid advancements in mechatronics, control, and planning. In scenarios that robots need to operate for either inspecting hard-to-reach areas or aiding humans in dangerous and hazardous environments, quadrupedal robots could be ideal due to their ability to deal with sparse footholds in a safe and energy efficient way. To date, quadrupedal robots are able to traverse some types of rough terrain, using usually traditional control and perception methods. However, their mobility is still far behind their natural counterparts, especially in cases that the environment is dynamically changing. Tasks such as navigating and hiking rough or rocky trails, where the environment itself is uncertain, not fully perceived, and potentially dynamically changing, remain central challenges in legged robot locomotion. RoboHike aims at introducing and developing novel high level and platform-agnostic perception and learning approaches for modeling, identifying, and mapping footholds for quadrupedal robots, such that it would be possible to achieve fast, robust, and reliable navigation and hiking skills on challenging terrains. In particular, it aims at combining various sensing systems, such as proprioceptive (e.g., inertia, speed, or joint torques) and exteroceptive (e.g., visual, range, event, or foot's force contact data) perception to reconstruct the environment and handle the uncertainty of potentially missing or inaccurate data, before and during locomotion, especially for dynamically changing terrains. This will enable novel footstep planning and robot localization in the environment. Analytic and (self-supervised and reinforcement) learning methods will leverage multi-modal sensing to allow quadrupedal robots mimic the way that animals plan footsteps when learning to walk. The developed methods will be validated experimentally on several full-size quadrupedal robots, in academic and industrial real-world use cases, for tasks such as inspection, patrolling, and maintenance. RoboHike will work towards the next-generation autonomous robotic systems in construction fields, oil&gas sites, or damaged sites after a man-made/natural disaster, where efficient navigation is required, and rough/rocky terrain, industrial stairs, pipes, and narrow passages may exist. The vision is to endow quadrupeds with environment cognition for the benefit of the public in autonomizing manual labor of hard or dangerous tasks. The impact is expected to be high in the national and industrial sectors for automated inspection, monitoring, maintenance, and disaster innervations, where terrain is arduous and the requirement for timely intervention is paramount. We intend to construct publicly shared benchmark datasets on challenging trails, bringing in this way the robotics community several steps forward in robot locomotion by enabling robots to work on challenging grounds.
 
Title Bedtime Stories 
Description A robot that will draw on the artist's back while the artist will read bedtime stories. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact Will aim at showing the impressive AI capabilities to imagine shapes when a story is read to it. 
 
Title The Art of Balancing 
Description A robot balancing while being pushed creates some impressive trajectories. We have recorded these into a painting and presented to a UCL AI competition. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact A painting made by the robot 
URL https://youtu.be/lINTZHzx0YM
 
Description We managed to generate a strong team of academics to lead world-wide and deliver research and teaching in the area of real-world robots. The formed team is advancing research on allowing robots learn to deal with several tasks. This is an important aspect to allow such robots help humans in dangerous and challenging cases, such as monitoring an area after a disaster (e.g., earthquake) and help with tedious tasks in agriculture, such as harvesting.
Exploitation Route We will continue working for the next 3 years on the objectives towards autonomous robotic systems. By publishing openly our findings and communicating them in our academic society, and in public, we hope that both academia and industry will take advantage of the findings, the industry will use our technology, and the public will build awareness of the positive impact robotics might have in our society.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy

URL https://rpl-as-ucl.github.io
 
Description Since the fellowship started in January 2022, the findings have just started creating some impact and/or potential impact: 1. UCL-CS (nucleation of a new research area): created a whole new area of expertise for the Computer Science department at UCL (real-world mobile robotics). This resulted into the creation of two new programmes MEng and MSc in Robotics and AI, and a new facility of real robots at UCL East (worth of 1m pounds), as well as the recruitment of academics related to the topic. This brought UCL at the forefront of robotics both in the UK, but also worldwide, with clear positive financial and societal impact for the university and the UK (e.g., we have more than 500 applications for the new programmes). Dr. Dimitrios Kanoulas was recognised for this achievement by the UCL-CS department with an award in July 2022. 2. Schools (public impact): a surprising number of schools contacted our team for engagement (talks, demonstrations, visits, etc.). As robotics is something that scares the public sometimes, our engagement activities generate a positive impact on how young students and teachers think about robots. 3. Agriculture (economic impact): we are in contact with several companies that are involved in the area of agriculture and expressed their interest in acquiring part of our technology for their field needs, e.g. harvesting. This is expected to have a great impact in the economy and we are in the process of creating a start-up to engage further with this opportunity. 4. Government: there is an increased interest in the research of our group based on this fellowship. We have been invited several times by the Greek Embassy of London to discuss the fellowship and ways of running start-ups between Greece and the UK (the meetings were led by the Ambassador and Greek Government ministers and the prime minister). We had further visits from other embassies in our facilities to demonstrate our research methods (e.g., the Japanese Embassy, Labour Leader). 5. News: we have been contacted few times from large news networks, such as BBC to comment on concerns of public regarding robots, trying to promote "AI for Good".
First Year Of Impact 2022
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Deputy Director of MSc in Robotics and AI
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Designer of MEng in Robotics and AI
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/degrees/robotics-and-artificial-intelligenc...
 
Description Discussion with Greek Bankers, Greek Church, and Embassy of Greece in London about academia-industry connection
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a guidance/advisory committee
Impact Academic team creation for changing the ways that the Greek government is considering joint Greek-UK spin-offs with financial impact for both countries.
 
Description Round Table for Embassy of Greece in London
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to a national consultation/review
Impact The two ministers of Greece were informed about ways to coordinate with UK-based start-ups in order to increase investment between Greece and the UK. Details: Roundtable discussion on bridging the Greek and British start-up ecosystems yesterday at the Hellenic Residency. Deputy Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Openness at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kostas Fragogiannis and Deputy Minister for Research and Technology at the Ministry for Development and Investments, Dr Christos Dimas discussed with distinguished members of the Greek Diaspora in the UK with diverse backgrounds (academia, investors, startupers, corporates and associations). The event was organised by the Embassy of Greece in collaboration with SEV (Hellenic Federation of Enterprises). We hope this to be the beginning of a series of events aiming at establishing a support network for Greek start-ups and for the future ventures of Greek researchers in the UK.
URL https://www.facebook.com/GreeceInUK/photos/pb.100064680397456.-2207520000./5195041960539948/?type=3
 
Description UK-RAS White Paper on Legged Robotics: Agile and Dynamic Interaction
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to a national consultation/review
URL https://www.ukras.org.uk/publications/white-papers/legged-robotics-agile-dynamic-interaction/
 
Description Autonomous Quadrupedal Robot Navigation and Hiking in Challenging Rough Terrains
Amount £99,775 (GBP)
Funding ID 2736841 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2022 
End 09/2026
 
Description Bio-Robots: Crawl, Jump, and Slither!
Amount £200,339 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/W033755/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2022 
End 06/2024
 
Description Continual Lifelong Learning and Adaptation for Legged Robots Planning and Control via Neuromorphic-based Learning
Amount £99,775 (GBP)
Funding ID 2728765 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2022 
End 09/2026
 
Description Continuous Reinforcement Learning for Quadruped Robots
Amount £99,775 (GBP)
Funding ID 2728764 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2022 
End 09/2026
 
Description UCL Architecture Research Fund (ARF): Interactive Multi-Robot Assembly!
Amount £9,989 (GBP)
Organisation University College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2022 
End 06/2023
 
Description UCL Cities Partnerships Programme: Machine Learning for Robotic Grasping and Manipulation of Everyday Objects
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation University College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 07/2022
 
Description UCL Grand Challenges Doctoral Students: Employing Quadrupedal Robots as an Innovative Solution for Last-Mile Logistics
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation University College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 07/2022
 
Description UCL Innovation Enterprise: UCL Robotics Innovation Network
Amount £29,978 (GBP)
Organisation University College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 03/2022
 
Description UK-RAS Pump Priming: Summer School on Robot Manipulation Learning
Amount £3,500 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2023 
End 06/2023
 
Title Navigation Among Movable Obstacles via RL 
Description For first time we deal with the problem of robot navigation, where interaction with obstacle is needed. We do that via reinforcement learning -- a purely new way to deal with the problem in real time. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The research method is impressive and unique, as the problem is intractable and thus learning techniques had to be applied to drive a real-world solution for industrial applications, e.g., a factory that boxes need to move around to clear paths. 
 
Title New Fruit Manipulator 
Description We designed a new way to deal with fruit grasping, via a soft manipulators with flexible fingers and novel sensing devices. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This manipulator is unique as it uses a thumb-technique to encapsulate objects without damaging them, and utilizes new sensors to drive learned actions for grasping. This novel design will be submitted for a patent. 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9635873
 
Title One-Shot Affordance Localization 
Description A novel way to find areas of interest on objects without the need to train any large neural network. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We managed to minimise the way of localising objects, such as grapes in a vineyard, or tools in a workshop, without the need to retrain a large network, thus, by minimising the amount of data and the energy for training a large network. 
URL https://sites.google.com/view/affcorrs
 
Title UCL East Robotics Lab 
Description TBD 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2023 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact TBD 
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-east/study-and-research/robotics-and-autonomous-systems
 
Title Navigation Among Movable Obstacles with Deep Reinforcement Learning 
Description It is for first time that this problem (Navigation Among Movable Obstacles) is studied from a Reinforcement Learning point of view. We produced an algorithm to solve this hard problem locally, using multiple agents in simulation and tried it on a real quadruped robot. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2023 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Impact: a completely new way of solving this problem will allow the community to solve this challenging task. We expect high impact in the research community. 
 
Title One-Shot Transfer of Affordances when Manipulating Objects with Robots 
Description We introduced a completely new method to finding regions on objects that have a particular functionality (e.g., cutting, holding, etc.). The novelty is that there is no need for large data to learn such functionalities for new objects appearing in a robot camera. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Impact: we expect a high impact in the research society, as we have been in contact to release the algorithm (something we did on GitHub). With this method, there is no need to label large data to allow robots handle everyday tools. 
URL https://github.com/RPL-CS-UCL/UCL-AffCorrs
 
Title UMD_i Dataset 
Description We present UMDi- a one-shot correspondence variant of UMD, which is composed of a single instance of each object in the dataset with both RGB image and affordance ground truth annotation. The original annotations are kept to highlight the difficulties of semantic transfer, as no two human annotations are the same. The classes include common objects such as bowls, ladles, and knives, with manually labelled grasp, scoop, wrap-grasp, support, contain, cut, and pound affordances. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This dataset is useful for research on self-supervised learning of manipulation tasks and handling of tools in robotics. 
URL https://github.com/RPL-CS-UCL/UCL-AffCorrs
 
Description Constantinos Chatzilygeroudis - Univ. of Patras 
Organisation University of Patras
Country Greece 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Multi-stage tasks are a challenge for reinforcement learning methods, and require either specific task knowledge (e.g., task segmentation) or big amount of interaction times to be learned. In this collaboration we study Behaviour Policy Learning that effectively combines 1) only few solution sketches, that is demonstrations without the actions, but only the states, 2) model-based controllers, and 3) simulations to effectively solve multi-stage tasks without strong knowledge about the underlying task.
Collaborator Contribution We have helped with collection of real-world data and applying the learned policies on real robots (solving the sim2real gap) in order to increase the usability and impact of the developed methods.
Impact 1 conference paper: "Behavior policy learning: Learning multi-stage tasks via solution sketches and model-based controllers", published at Frontiers in AI and Robotics, and 1 journal paper under submission.
Start Year 2022
 
Description Industrial Inspection - Arrival LTD 
Organisation Arrival Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution - Working on an inspection task for electric vehicle inspection on the spot.
Collaborator Contribution - Provided information about tasks needed in Generation 3 vehicle industries that need to be completed autonomously with mobile robots.
Impact - Definition of use-case for industrial vehicle inspection. - Multi-disciplinary: collaboration with car manufacturing industry, to understand the need of robots for inspection during manufacturing.
Start Year 2022
 
Description Robot Training - ETH 
Organisation ETH Zurich
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution - Research collaboration on legged robot locomotion
Collaborator Contribution - Training of our researchers at ETH on real world robots to be used in the fellowship.
Impact - Training of students/researchers on the ANYmal robot (i.e, 2 days training on UCL ANYmal robot, 1 PhD student summer school at ETH). - Multi-disciplinary: no
Start Year 2022
 
Description Robot Training - ORI 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution - Research collaboration on legged robot locomotion
Collaborator Contribution - Access to robotic resources (i.e., robots, software for localisation and mapping)
Impact - EPSRC Research Proposal (under submission) - Multi-disciplinary: No
Start Year 2022
 
Description Tele-operated Legged Robots - Univ. of Leeds 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We collaborated closely with Univ. of Leeds (Dr Chengxu Zhou) to generate legged robots that can be tele-operated in a whole-body fashion, and allow user to use VR headsets to feel the environment when performing loco-manipulation tasks. We tried our method for a Explosive Ordnance Disposal tasks, in collaboration with DASA/Dstl.
Collaborator Contribution We developed the visual and virtual reality system to deal with teleoperation and telexistence when controlling a legged robot manipulator.
Impact We manage to produce a method to control quadruped manipulators using tele-operation and tele-existence. We produced 4 papers (2 in 5th UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Conference, 1 in IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems and 1 in arXiv).
Start Year 2022
 
Description Volcanic Inspection - INGV 
Organisation National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV)
Country Italy 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution - Initiated discussions about methods for navigating in challenging terrain to inspect a volcano, including the type of information needed by the robot for the inspection.
Collaborator Contribution - Use-case for inspection of the Vesuvius volcano, including discussion on the inspection ways.
Impact - Use-case definition - Multi-disciplinary: this is a collaboration with volcanologists that are experts in the inspection of volcanoes.
Start Year 2022
 
Description Weiwei Wan - Osaka Univ. 
Organisation Osaka University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution - Research on tele-operation
Collaborator Contribution - Research on bi-manual manipulation
Impact - Journal paper on manipulation of heavy objects with two robots. - Multi-disciplinary: no
Start Year 2022
 
Title Common low level control framework for quadruped robots 
Description We developed a framework to control several different quadrupedal robots in the same way to make our algorithms robot-agnostic. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact Impact: we aim at releasing the software soon in order to make an impact to the research society, by providing a framework that works independently of the robot model. 
 
Title Navigation Among Movable Obstacles with Deep Reinforcement Learning 
Description In this code we allow RL agents to be trained to solve the challenging problem of Navigation among Movable Obstacles, using Reinforcement Learning. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2023 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Impact: a novel method to solve a problem that is open for several years in the research community. 
 
Title Python-based framework for rapid prototyping of RL and optimal controller for quadruped robots 
Description We work on a CasADi-based python framework to allow fast and less complex code development for quadruped robots either they are trained via Reinforcement Learning or Optimal Control. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2023 
Impact Impact: we aim for open-sourcing the code in order to allow the research community develop faster methods to control robots, without the need to hard code their algorithms. 
 
Title UCL-AffCorrs 
Description Given a single reference image of an object with annotated affordance regions, can we segment semantically corresponding parts within a target scene? We investigate this question with AffCorrs, an unsupervised model that combines the useful properties of pre-trained DINO-ViT's image descriptors and cyclic correspondences. AffCorrs is able to find corresponding affordances both for intra- and inter-class one-shot semantic part segmentation. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2022 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Finding corresponding affordances both for intra- and inter-class one-shot semantic part segmentation. is more difficult than supervised alternatives, but enables future work such as learning affordances via imitation and assisted teleoperation. 
URL https://sites.google.com/view/affcorrs
 
Description AI Showcase 
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 Postgraduate students
Results and Impact AI Showcase with our quadruped robots performing for PhD students, the Deans and Provost of UCL.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description BBC Digital Planet podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In brief: BBC interview about robotic dogs and their ethical aspects.

Impact: public engagement about legged robots and how useful they can be in our society, as well as discussed the problem of weaponising robots.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct31yt
 
Description Conference paper presentation at CoRL 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: presentation of paper on "One-Shot Transfer of Affordance Regions? AffCorrs!", at the 6th Annual Conference on Robot Learning.

Impact: outreaching to academics working in the same research area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://corl2022.org/
 
Description Conference paper presentation at IROS 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: presentation of paper on "Robust Contact State Estimation in Humanoid Walking Gaits", at the 2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

Impact: outreaching to academics working in the same research area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://iros2022.org/
 
Description Conference paper presentation at IROS 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: presentation of paper on "Navigation Among Movable Obstacles with Object Localization using Photorealistic Simulation", at the 2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

Impact: outreaching to academics working in the same research area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://iros2022.org/
 
Description Conference paper presentation at IROS 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: presentation of paper on "Autonomous Mobile 3D Printing of Large-Scale Trajectories", at the 2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

Impact: outreaching to academics working in the same research area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://iros2022.org/
 
Description Conference paper presentation at UK-RAS 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: presentation of paper on "Analysis of VR Usability in Mobile Manipulator Teleoperation", at the 5th UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Conference.

Impact: outreaching to academics working in the same research area in the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.ukras.org.uk/news-and-events/uk-ras/ukras22-the-5th-uk-robotics-and-autonomous-systems-c...
 
Description Conference paper presentation at UK-RAS 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: presentation of paper on "Dynamic Camera Usage in Mobile Teleoperation System for Buzz Wire Task", at the 5th UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Conference.

Impact: outreaching to academics working in the same research area in the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.ukras.org.uk/news-and-events/uk-ras/ukras22-the-5th-uk-robotics-and-autonomous-systems-c...
 
Description Demos/Posters at the 2023 UCL Robotics Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In brief: We ran demos with our robots to promote our research, we presented student posters of our work, and gave an invited talk about the fellowship to more than 200 participants, that included industry (e.g., BP), research centres (e.g. DeepMind),academics from all over the country, and media/policymakers.

Impact: Changed the view of robotics towards a safer society.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://twitter.com/matchymaucl/status/1627701885044985859
 
Description Disruptive Thinker Video 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In Brief: How can we bring limbed robots into real world environments to complete challenging tasks? Dr Dimitrios Kanoulas and the team at UCL Computer Science's Robot Perception and Learning Lab are exploring how we can use autonomous and semi autonomous robots to work in environments that humans cannot.

Impact: public engagement, academic outreaching
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/engineering/research/disruptive-thinkers-video-series#How%20can%20we%20bring%2...
 
Description Evening Standard Tech and Science Daily by Mark Blunden about RoboHike 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In brief: a podcast about the need of robots in our society

Impact: discussed the economical impact of robots helping in tasks, such as agriculture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://open.spotify.com/episode/6AUzNIgvT0EExs2Vt2zLyu?si=9zzRkZzxQdW4FLYX_X8MKw&dl_branch=1&nd=1
 
Description ICRA 2022 Legged Robots Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In brief: organised the sixth version of "Towards Real-World Deployment of Legged Robots" workshop at ICRA 2022 (the larger robotics conference), where we have several speakers from academia and industry discussing legged robots, with invited presentations, demos, and posters.

Impact: this is the largest legged robot event of the year, that brings together all roboticists that work on legged robots
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLY45TGWcpM7yohYe33biZd1cEzwLK78dh
 
Description ICRA'23 Workshop on "Towards Real-World Deployment of Legged Robots" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: We organised this workshop in the top conference in robotics to engage with researchers and industry in legged robotics. This is the best known workshop in legged robots worldwide.

Impact: Brought together all roboticists working on legged robots.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://leggedrobots.org/
 
Description IEEE Spectrum - Video Friday 
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 Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: the disruptive thinking video appeared to IEEE Spectrum and outreached to several colleagues worldwide.

Impact: few colleagues showed interest in multi-disciplinary worth with us towards novel research and impact outcomes, e.g., scanning tunnels.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://spectrum.ieee.org/video-friday-drones-in-trees
 
Description IEEE Spectrum Video Friday 
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 Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: appeared in the IEEE Spectrum (Video Friday), with our methods and outreaching activities. In this example making art using a quadruped robot.

Impact: outreaching to robotics around the world with our research and outreach activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022,2023
URL https://spectrum.ieee.org/video-friday-robot-soccer-finals
 
Description IROS'22 Workshop on "The Role of Uncertainty and How it is Tackled in Robotic Grasping and Manipulation" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact We organised this workshop in one of the top conferences in robotics to engage with researchers and industry in robotic manipulation and promote state of the art research in the area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://sites.google.com/view/the-role-of-uncertainty
 
Description Invited Lecture in Open Robotics Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact In brief: the invited talk at University of Patras in Greece, focused on "Humanoids, Quadrupeds, and other Legged Robots", to introduce school students to legged robotic research and development.

Impact: Initiated a set of round table discussion with pupils, that showed interest in working with legged robots (have asked their instructor to consider a legged robot for next year's school).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.youtube.com/live/61eg3islhLU?feature=share
 
Description Invited Talk to the Royal Veterinary College in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: A multi-disciplinary invited talk at the RVC, titled "Robots with Legs & Arms: Cognition for Real-World Loco/Manipulation in Complex Environments", to target collaboration between animal researchers and roboticists.

Impact: Grant proposal writing and collaboration on animal/robot study.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Invited lecture to the UCL Science Centre - School Outreach Lectures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact In brief: each year, giving a talk about ``Real-World Legged Robots'' at UCL Science Centre lectures (the talk was sent to about 300 schools, with great engagement).

Impact: several pupils contacted after the lecture (either via email or LinkedIn) to ask further info or questions on the related subject area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022,2023
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/physics-astronomy/outreach/science-centre-lectures
 
Description Invited talk to 2023 UCL Robotics Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In Brief: An invited talk about the UKRI FLF to academics and industry partners from all the UK, titled: "Robots with Legs & Arms: Cognition for Real-World Loco/Manipulation in Complex Environments".

Impact: Engagement with industry, as well as outreaching to academics from other institution that work on similar topics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/robotics/events/2023/feb/ucl-robotics-23
 
Description Invited talk to UK-RAS Early-Career Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: UK-RAS Early-Career team invited Dr Kanoulas to share the path towards the UKRI FLF, and accept questions from early career academics that aim at similar paths.

Impact: received several emails to help with early carer paths.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://youtu.be/9M8j87XMZac
 
Description Invited talk to University of Colorado at Boulder 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In Brief: A PhD seminar talk about Cognitive Real-World Loco-Manipulation.

Impact: Outreaching to international academics about our work resulted by the FLF and seek for collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
 
Description Media coverage on the fellowship 
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 Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In Brief: The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship: RoboHike appeared to more than 30 newspapers, blogs, journals, online news, etc., including Telegraph and Yahoo!, while featured by UKRI and the UK Government itself.

Impact: the news reached to all possible audiences and familiarised the UK and the world with the new type of robots that will help humans in real-world environments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-generation-of-uk-science-leaders-backed-with-113-million-to-...
 
Description Mentors panel formation - Andrew Davison (ICL), Marc Deisenroth (UCL) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact In brief: We formed a group of mentors for the fellowship, that are experts in various topics, including team management, research in the field of Machine Learning and Robotics, as well as formation of spin-offs.

Impact: Initial discussions with the mentors, provided clear understanding of the good practices regarding the fellowship and helped with the formation of the working group and starting development of research methods.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022,2023
 
Description Podcast Interview about the new IM@UCL 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In brief: a podcast on "Robotics and Simulation: For or Against Humanity", promoting AI for Good and how robots can be beneficial in our society.

Impact: change the view of people afraid of robots and the future with them.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://soundcloud.com/uclsound/ep-5-robotics-and-simulation-for-or-against-humanity
 
Description RoboHike Working Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In brief: we have formed a group of research fellows, research assistants, PhD students, MSc students, and BSc/MEng students to work collaboratively on the project, by meeting monthly and solving one task at a time.

Impact: Quick progress on the fellowship's goals and aims.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022,2023
 
Description Robotic 3D Building news 
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 Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In brief: several online news covered our work on 3D printing buildings

Impact: excitement on the achievement showing proof of value for robots on the next generation. This led to discussions with Arup on funding a PhD student on the topic.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.fabbaloo.com/news/robotic-3d-print-research-shows-large-scale-possibilities
 
Description Robotics and Artificial Intelligence MEng Information Session 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact In brief: expert view from our Information Session webinar (Oct 2022) for our new undergraduate programme, launching Sept 2023.

Impact: pupils showed high interest in robotics, with special focus to under-represented in engineering groups, e.g., female or black students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://youtu.be/_LJqDmljw94
 
Description Scientific Advisors: Lourdes Agapito (UCL), Kostas Alexis (NTNU), Maren Bennewitz (Uni-Bonn), Enrico Mingo Hoffman (PAL Robotics), John Hutchinson (RVC), Simon Julier (UCL), Christopher Kilburn (UCL), Nikos Tsagarakis (IIT) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact In brief: We formed a group of scientific advisors for the fellowship, that are experts in various topics, firstly to support the research and developments and secondly to foster further collaborations

Impact: Initial discussions with the scientific advisors, regarding particular problems in the research resulted in to potential solutions. Moreover, we had collaboration initiatives with K. Alexis (mapping), J. Hutchinson (animal study and EPSRC grant proposal), and C. Kilburn (volcano inspection).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022,2023
 
Description UCL AI Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Demo by our legged robots for the AI Showcase (November 2022). Audience included the UCL Provost and UCL Deans.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/faicdt/2022/11/04/cdt-students-shine-at-poster-showcase-event/
 
Description UCL Gatsby and SWC (Sainbury Welcome Centre) Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Every year, the UCL Gatsby and SWC (Sainbury Welcome Centre) PhD intake students participate in a 3-week bootcamp. During the bootcamp they unpack "blackboxes", i.e., everyday subsystems and concepts which we take for granted e.g., transistors, computer architecture, motors, sensors, control etc. The students spend the 3-weeks tinkering and interacting with these "blackboxes" and eventually build mobile robots with arduino's and raspberry pi's. At the end of the bootcamp, the robots are showcased to the entire institute. This year, the students are joined by the Go1 robot from UCL's Robohike project to play follow the leader. Here, the smaller robots will follow the larger Go1 robot around the room using bespoke infrared sensors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description UCL News Spotlight 
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 Other audiences
Results and Impact In brief: a spotlight interview around the fellowship that was published at UCL.

Impact: several emails about potential collaborations towards the fellowship's goals, including research and outreaching
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2022/aug/spotlight-dimitrios-kanoulas
 
Description UCL Spotlight News 
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 Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Spotlight interview to engage people with UK robotics and developments at UCL East.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2022/aug/spotlight-dimitrios-kanoulas
 
Description UCL-CS News Spotlight 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact tbc
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://liveuclac.sharepoint.com/sites/ComputerScienceIntranet/SitePages/Staff-Spotlight.aspx
 
Description Visiting School at the UCL Science Museum - Demo 
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 In brief: we ran some demos of our legged robots to ~50 pupils, as part of their visit to the Science Museum, to promote our research findings and the "AI for Good", also in order to consider Computer Science as their next field of study.

Impact: pupils (female of under-represented groups) showed high interest in robotics and applying for computer science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022,2023
URL https://twitter.com/SBonnellSchool/status/1618998641544364032