The increasing use of robotics in industry over the last 50 years has led to dramatic increases in manufacturing efficiency. This in turn has led to cheaper mass-produced products and improved standards of living. Industries that now rely on a high degree of automation range from processed food production through traditional engineering, electronic engineering to clothing manufacture.
New control techniques for improved efficiency
However, much greater increases in efficiency are possible through improvements to the software that controls the operation of industrial robots and automated manufacturing processes. For example, in fixed base robots, advanced neuro-control techniques have the potential to compensate for unknown model parameters and offer fast accurate performance over a wide range of operating regimes. Sophisticated data analysis techniques are also available for online fault detection and diagnosis.
Presently, there is great interest in machine vision to provide sensory feedback from the environment to improve the performance of robots. Machine vision has the potential to improve the speed and accuracy of robots, as well as allowing them to perform more flexibly in less structured environments. In automated manufacturing, machine vision techniques are used for automated visual inspection and quality control.
Mobile robots are autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles which navigate through large scale environments. The robot may need to build a 3D spatial map of its environment and the objects within it. This may involve the ability to visually recognise important objects or places within its environment.
Mobile robots have important industrial and military applications. They are well suited to environments which are either difficult, unpleasant, dangerous or expensive for a human to enter. Currently, there is great military interest in unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs).
To contact us: please e-mail Dr Simon Stringer (CEO) at: