School of Informatics

Sealing the deal with Japan on robotics

The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics has sealed two major contracts at a ceremony at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

The Centre is a joint venture between the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University.

Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, who is Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and holds a Personal Chair in Robotics in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, concluded a contract signing with Hitachi's Central Research Labs (CRL-CER) in Tokyo, with support from UKTI and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This marks the beginning of an exciting collaboration in the domain of intelligent warehousing and autonomous manipulation robots between the School of Informatics and one of the leading manufacturing giants of Japan.

International reputation

Professor Vijayakumar said, "These partnerships with world leading technology companies are a testimony of the quality and the excellent international reputation of the research in the Centre in the rapidly developing domain of robotics and autonomous systems. It is estimated that by 2025 such advanced robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) could have a worldwide economic impact of $1.7 trillion to $4.5 trillion annually, with an emerging market value €15.5Billion, and we are helping to ensure that the UK and Scotland are maintaining a key role in the field.”


Hitachi representatives with Sethu Vijayakumar at the British Embassy, Tokyo, 2015
Hitachi representatives with Professor Vijayakumar (pictured second from the right) at the British Embassay, Tokyo

Growing engagement with the Far East

In another important deal, Professor David Lane, co-Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and Director of the Ocean Systems Laboratory at Heriot-Watt, formalised an agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd for a five year development programme for multi-sensor algorithms for the monitoring and maintenance of underwater pipelines by autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

Professor Lane said, “These contracts underline the Centre’s growing engagement with the Far East, supported by the UK Government, and reflecting its position as a major UK Centre for research and training in the field of robotics and autonomous systems."

Useful links

Edinburgh Centre for Robotics


UK Trade & Investment

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Professor Vijayakumar's web page

Professor Lane's web page