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Bristol Robotics Laboratory

15 August 2015

The Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is a unique collaboration that harnesses the collective strengths of its university partners, and brings together the best expertise from industry and the academic community to spearhead Britain’s efforts to be a world leader in modern advanced robotics.

The laboratory is the most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. It is a collaborative partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Bristol, and home to a vibrant community of over 150 academics, researchers and industry practitioners. Together, they are world leaders in current thinking on service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bio-engineering. The state-of-the-art facilities cover an area of over 3,500 sq. metres (over 37,000 sq. feet) and BRL is an internationally recognised Centre of Excellence in Robotics.

Mission

The mission of BRL is to understand the science, engineering and social role of robotics and embedded intelligence. In particular, the key challenges surrounding adaptive robotics, namely: dealing with people and their unpredictability, unstructured and uncertain environments, and equiping robots for flexible roles. BRL is a unique collaboration that harnesses the collective strengths of its partners to spearhead Britain’s efforts to be a world leader in modern advanced robotics.

Research

The laboratory is currently involved in interdisciplinary research projects addressing key areas of robot capabilities and applications including: smart automation, human-robot interaction, bio-energy and self-sustainable systems, biomimetic tactile sensors and haptic feedback systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, driverless cars, swarming behaviour, assisted living technologies, non-linear control, medical and rehabilitation robotics, machine vision, robot safety, verification and validation, unconventional computation and soft robotics.

Networks

BRL maintains strong national and international links with both industry and other research institutes and has an enviable track record of successful research and innovation. BRL jointly delivers the €27m European funded ECHORD++ initiative, which helps businesses develop and deploy robotic technologies, and turn good ideas into new products and services. The laboratory is involved in multipe innovative applications of robotics for commercial and industrial exploitation, including a Technology Business Incubator.

The incubator provides physical space and facilities for early stage, high tech start-up companies, alongside a package of targeted business support that includes mentoring, technical guidance, and access to industry specialists and investors. BRL works closely with trade associations and industry networks, and hosts a variety of national and international robotics conferences and competitions. BRL runs and collaborates in exciting public engagement projects at a number of locations in Bristol and the region.

Teaching

In addition to its core research activities, BRL offers PhD level research programmes through its EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems. The laboratory also offers a full range of taught courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, Masters level research programmes and selected internships.

Facilities

The on-site facilities include full mechanical workshops, wet labs, rapid prototyping facilities, an ambient assisted living studio, flying arena, a 16,000L test pool and 3 Vicon 3D positioning systems. The laboratory also hosts a lecture theatre, seminar rooms and a fully equipped video conference suite.

Bristol Robotics Laboratory
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