• The University of Manchester

    Institution lead for RAIN: Barry Lennox


    The Robotics for Extreme Environments Group at the University of Manchester conducts research into the use of mobile robots in extreme environments, with the primary focus of the work being the development of robotic systems for nuclear decommissioning applications. The group brings together the departments of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE), Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) and Computer Science (CS). With access to the Dalton Cumbrian Facility, a state-of-the-art nuclear research base in Cumbria, the group has formed strong industrial collaborations with companies such as Sellafield Ltd and the National Nuclear Laboratory. This enables robotic systems to be developed, and research topics guided, with clear end-user engagement.

  • The University of Bristol

    Institution lead: Tom Scott

    www.bristol.ac.uk/engineering/, and the Bristol Robotics Lab www.brl.ac.uk/

    Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is the most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. The primary mission of BRL is to understand the science, engineering and social role of robotics and embedded intelligence.

    Professor Tom Scott is Co-Director of the South West Nuclear Hub, Director of the Interface Analysis Centre and a member of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol. He holds a Royal Academy of Engineering professorial fellowship jointly funded by the AWE and in 2017 performed as a Special Advisor to the House of Lord Science and Technology Committee on Nuclear Technologies. He has also recently been announced as a member of the Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board (NIRAB).

    His research is based around understanding and predicting the distribution, ageing, corrosion and characterisation of radioactive materials in engineered and environmental systems. His research involves materials research as well as instrument development, linking with roboticists to deploy them in nuclear environments. His research has resulted in over1260 published papers and 4 patents. Professor Scott is the academic lead for the Sellafield UK Centre of Expertise for Uranium and Reactive Metals.

  • The University of Lancaster

    Institution lead: Malcolm Joyce


    The Nuclear Science and Engineering Research Group in the Department of Engineering at Lancaster University has excellence in research in nuclear instrumentation, nuclear decommissioning, and chemical processes along with our location relative to Sellafield Ltd, Springfields Fuels Ltd. and many supporting specialist companies have placed us in an internationally-leading position in nuclear engineering systems.

    In nuclear decommissioning our research in robotics targets the need to reduce the requirement for manned entry into radioactive environments. This provides invaluable possibilities for the safe retrieval and disposal of contaminated materials whilst safeguarding the environment and minimising radiation exposure to people, for example using hydraulic manipulators and UAVs in this application.

    We also lead a joint EPSRC/Department of Energy & Climate Change project, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy ‘ADRIANA’ as part of the second phase of the National Nuclear Users’ Facility. This will enable the most sensitive neutron multiplicity calorimeter in the world to be established based on Lancaster capability.

  • The University of Liverpool

    Institution lead for RAIN: Michael Fisher


    The Department of Computer Science is a leading centre for computer science-related research and education, working closely with a range of industry partners to develop technologies and applications in cutting edge fields, from mobile computing to artificial intelligence. The Autonomy and Verification Lab provides a range of research concerning autonomous systems and their verification. Applications include unmanned aircraft, robotics and distributed sensor systems.

  • The University of Nottingham

    Institution lead for RAIN: Dragos Axinte


    Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Manufacturing and on-wing technology at University of Nottingham is a multi-disciplinary research team, mainly focusing on robotics for challenging environments and manufacturing of aerospace components.

    Working closely to Rolls-Royce, the UTC has the following robots developed for the interventions of in-situ inspection and repair of large and complex installations and also owns the following equipment for supporting the research on robotics design and control:

    1. 6-DoF Hexapod Machine Tool;

    2. 25-DoF stiffness-adjustable continuum robot (1200mm in length, 12mm in diameter at tip, 38mm in diameter at base);

    3. 6-DoF miniaturised continuum robot (300mm in length, 15mm in diameter);

    4. VICON (Vantage) – motion tracking vision system;

    5. 5-DoF arm robot with 3D Artec Spider scanner ;

    6. MVIQ GE camera with 6mm phase measurement probe; 4mm stereo vison probe;

    8. 6 DOF eletromagnetic sensor (3D Guidance trackStarTM) y

  • The University of Oxford

    Institution lead: Ioannis Havoutis


    The Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI) is a world leading centre for research in robot navigation with an ambitious, application-driven research agenda. It is a tight-knit community of over 60 researchers, engineers and academics focused on developing robust robot autonomy, directed by Prof. Paul Newman. ORI has a leadership position in both UK and European robotics and has demonstrated large scale robotics projects. The Dynamic Robot Systems Group (DRS) is a group within the ORI, that focuses on estimation, navigation, motion planning and control for dynamic robots. Led by Drs. Maurice Fallon and Ioannis Havoutis, the group has a focus on state of the art walking robot navigation and deployment in realistic field demonstrations.

  • The University of Sheffield

    Institution lead for RAIN: Sandor M Veres


    The Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE) is one of the largest departments devoted to the subject of control science in Europe. ASRG operates intelligent robot arms and rovers in experiments of autonomous decisions in manufacturing and waste disposal applications. In the past, nuclear material handling and sorting by an autonomously operating robot arm has been demonstrated in ASRG labs. ASRG also has a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in its dedicated rural site and hangar and has a fully instrumented and computer controlled semi-autonomous van for industrial use.

  • The University of Leeds

    Institution lead for RAIN: Dr Jordan Boyle

    Dr Jordan Boyle is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds and is also the Operational Director of the EPSRC National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems.

    Most of his research relates to developing robust robotic systems capable of operating independently in complex and challenging environments. He has a particular interest in biologically-inspired solutions and has previously worked on modelling neural locomotion control in the nematode C. elegans and applying this understanding to the control of snake-like robots. His current work includes developing miniature robots for inspecting utility pipes (EP/S016813/1) and burrowing robots for installing underground cables (EP/S003797/1).

    His project within the RAIN hub aims to develop an agile pipe-inspection platform capable of operating in a range of diameters down to 2 inches. This will draw on his previous research experience developing miniature mobile robots for use in the human colon.

  • The University of Reading

    Institution lead for RAIN: Dr. Peter Scarfe

    Vision and Haptics Lab (Dr. Peter Scarfe): peterscarfe.com

    The Human-robot interaction lab, Biomedical Engineering (Prof. William Harwin): www.reading.ac.uk/~shshawin

    The Vision and Haptics Laboratory at the University of Reading conducts research at the interface of Perceptual Psychology, Engineering and Robotics. The overall goal of the lab is to apply knowledge of how the human sensory system processes and integrates multi-sensory information to improve the design and use of systems which utilise 3D visualisation, virtual reality and haptic robotics. As such, we have close collaborations with industrial partners such as Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) and the NHS (Christie hospital Manchester) and have worked on data visualisation with members of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission. We collaborate extensively with colleagues in the biomedical Engineering group here at the University of Reading.

  • Newcastle University

    Institution Lead: Prof Nick Wright


    Activity in robotics at Newcastle is based in the School of Engineering where a wide range of robotics technologies are under development. There is a particular focus on underwater robotics which draws on expertise in marine technology, electronics and materials.

    In 2019, a Newcastle team competed for the global X-prize competition in ocean exploration and won the highly prestigious Moonshot prize. Other research activities include specialist ROV design, underwater sensors and underwater computer vision with associated machine learning techniques.

  • RACE

    Institution lead: Rob Buckingham


    As part of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) is conducting R&D and commercial activities in the field of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS). The UKAEA’s primary mission is fusion and this creates an imperative to develop robotic solutions to operate and maintain a fusion reactor. We know that we can only solve our grand challenge by working with others. Learning with the best is the premise of our national and international collaborations. This is taking us into adjacent fields: driverless vehicles, intelligent mobility, smart infrastructure and asset integrity management as well as advanced control systems, augmented reality and autonomous systems.