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Experts team up on robotics research

Computing scientists from the University are to join forces with experts at Heriot-Watt in a £6 million research centre.

The initiative, known as the Edinburgh Robotics and Autonomous Systems Interaction Research Facility, has been made possible as part of an £85 million investment by the UK Government.

The funding was announced by David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, on behalf of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Meeting challenges

The centre represents a unique suite of world-class facilities.

Professor Sethu VijayakumarSchool of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Scientists and engineers at the centre will seek to apply robotics research to problems in industry and society.

Researchers will develop expertise in areas including robot learning and underwater systems.

Experts at the University of Edinburgh will focus on robot-robot interactions, while Heriot-Watt University scientists will target interactions between humans, robots and autonomous systems.

The new centre will house humanoid robots, immersive and sensorised workspaces, co-worker robots and facilities for prosthetics research and testing.

Known as Robotarium, its facilities include underwater, on-land and indoor robots capable of close and coordinated interaction with humans and the environment.

This new centre builds upon Edinburgh's reputation as an international hub for robotics research and prepares us for new challenges where humans and robotic systems must work together.

Professor Dave RobertsonSchool of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Key economic driver

Robotics has the potential to create breakthroughs in oil and gas, manufacturing, search and rescue, defence and environmental monitoring.

Autonomous robots could also be used, for example, to help the elderly with everyday tasks, or to help develop sophisticated prosthetic limbs.

Robotics and autonomous systems has been identified by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as a key technology to help drive UK economic growth.

The funding will help develop a world-leading research base in the sector, which is estimated to be worth €15.5 billion globally.

With our partners from the University of Edinburgh, we will draw on the expertise of more than 50 investigators in 16 research groups and institutes in Edinburgh, making the city a global leader in the field.

Professor David LaneHeriot-Watt University