New Multidisciplinary Center for Investigations on Advancements in Smart Robotics

New interdisciplinary center investigating intelligent robotics

A new interdisciplinary specialized center is being created in University of Manchester To investigate developments in intelligent robotics through the lens of autonomous machines and artificial intelligence (AI).

Robots take a break in a University of Manchester laboratory. Image credit: Manchester Marketing

The University of Manchester’s engineering and materials facilities will house the Manchester Center for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, which will act as an “interface between robotics, autonomy and artificial intelligence” and host the latest research on AI-powered devices.

Much of the University of Manchester’s current reputation for excellence in artificial intelligence and robotics stems from the legendary code-breaker Alan Turing, who began driving the fundamental thought leadership of the field in Manchester.

Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have been named by British chancellor Jeremy Hunt as the most important drivers of economies in the 21st century, leading to the creation of the new Manchester hub.

On Wednesday 23 NovemberResearch and developmentIn 2022, the Manchester group holds its first conference to celebrate the opening of its new Robotics Centre. Robotics applications in harsh environments was one of the topics covered.

A specialist team from Manchester led by Professor Barry Lennox has developed robots for safe work at nuclear decommissioning sites in the UK over the past 10 years.

Time magazine named Lyra, a revolutionary robot created by Professor Lennox’s team and recently used at the Dounreay site in Scotland, “the world’s deepest nuclear cleanup site,” as one of the 200 best innovations of 2022.

Foldable drones are also being used in other advanced Manchester applications, such as characterizing underground mines or examining offshore wind turbines. Manchester is also taking the lead in developing verification technologies that will allow us to trust these robots even when they are operating autonomously in dangerous situations.

A joint presentation by theologian Dr. Scott Madison and robotics expert Dr. Andy Whitman, which highlighted “transhumanism” and envisioned a future in which humans are not the only intelligent decision-makers, was a highlight of the conference.

Dr. Madson studies theological and philosophical critiques of transhumanism, and Dr. Whitman studies home rehabilitation robots for people with neurological impairment.

Together, they discussed how interdisciplinary research can help address the unique challenges of rehabilitation robots and, ultimately, what it means to be human β€œin the face of the promises and challenges of human augmentation through robotic and autonomous machines.”

At the conference, a number of autonomous robots and machines were on display for attendees to see.

Manchester professor of robotics and machine learning, Angelo Cangelosi, claimed that the university has a leading position in the field of autonomous systems, which will play an important role in the future of society.

We are excited to host our inaugural conference, which will provide a special showcase of our diverse academic expertise designing robotics for a variety of real-world applications.

Dr Angelo Cangelosi is Professor of Machine Learning and Robotics in the Department of Computer Science, University of Manchester

Dr. Cangelosi said, β€œOur research and innovation team works on the interaction of robotics, autonomy and artificial intelligence – and their knowledge is drawn from all disciplines of the university, including the biological and medical sciences – as well as the humanities and even theology. Manchester’s rich diversity offers a distinctive approach to designing robotics and autonomous systems for real-world applications, especially when combined with our new use of AI-based knowledge.

The University of Manchester’s Center for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence will strive to:

  • Create control systems focused on biology-inspired mechatronics solutions, such as using bio-robot platforms, sensors, and actuators
  • Create new software engineering and AI validation methodologies with the goal of creating reliable autonomous systems
  • examining the interaction between humans and robots with a new focus on using brain-inspired approaches to robot control, learning, and interaction; And the
  • Understand the effects of using robotics and autonomous systems on people and society, and research the ethics and issues of human-centered robotics


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