UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Salisbury, United Kingdom

UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Salisbury, United Kingdom
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Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 4.93M | Year: 2014

The global Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) market was $25.5bn in 2001 and is growing. The market potential for future robotics and autonomous systems is of huge value to the UK. The need for expansion in this important sector is well recognised, as evidenced by the Chancellor of the Exchequers announcement of £35m investment in the sector in 2012, the highlighting of this sector in the 2012 BIS Foresight report Technology and Innovation Futures and the identification of robotics and autonomous systems by the Minister for Universities and Science in 2013 as one of the 8 great technologies that will drive future growth. This expansion will be fuelled by a step change in RAS capability, the key to which is their increased adaptability. For example, a home care robot must adapt safely to its owners unpredictable behaviour; micro air vehicles will be sent into damaged buildings without knowing the layout or obstructions; a high value manufacturing robot will need to manufacture small batches of different components. The key to achieving increased adaptability is that the innovators who develop them must, themselves, be very adaptable people. FARSCOPE, the Future Autonomous and Robotic Systems Centre for PhD Education, aims to meet the need for a new generation of innovators who will drive the robotics and autonomous systems sector in the coming decade and beyond. The Centre will train over 50 students in the essential RAS technical underpinning skills, the ability to integrate RAS knowledge and technologies to address real-world problems, and the understanding of wider implications and applications of RAS and the ability to innovate within, and beyond, this sector. FARSCOPE will be delivered by a partnership between the University of Bristol (UoB) and the University of the West of England (UWE). It will bring together the dedicated 3000 square metre Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), one of the largest robotics laboratories in Europe, with a trainin and supervising team drawn from UoB and UWE offering a wide breadth of experience and depth of expertise in autonomous systems and related topics. The FARSCOPE centre will exploit the strengths of BRL, including medical and healthcare robotics, energy autonomous robotics, safe human-robot interactions, soft robotics, unconventional computing, experimental psychology, biomimicry, machine vision including vision-based navigation and medical imaging and an extensive aerial robotics portfolio including unmanned air vehicles and autonomous flight control. Throughout the four-year training programme industry and stakeholder partners will actively engage with the CDT, helping to deliver the programme and sharing both their domain expertise and their commercial experience with FARSCOPE students. This includes regular seminar series, industrial placements, group grand challenge project, enterprise training and the three-year individual research project. Engaged partners include BAE Systems, DSTL, Blue Bear Systems, SciSys, National Composites Centre, Rolls Royce, Toshiba, NHS SouthWest and OC Robotics. FARSCOPE also has commitment from a range of international partners from across Europe, the Americas and Asia who are offering student exchange placements and who will enhance the global perspective of the programme.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 4.16M | Year: 2014

Recently, an influential American business magazine, Forbes, chose Quantum Engineering as one of its top 10 majors (degree programmes) for 2022. According to Forbes magazine (September 2012): a need is going to arise for specialists capable of taking advantage of quantum mechanical effects in electronics and other products. We propose to renew the CDT in Controlled Quantum Dynamics (CQD) to continue its success in training students to develop quantum technologies in a collaborative manner between experiment and theory and across disciplines. With the ever growing demand for compactness, controllability and accuracy, the size of opto-electronic devices in particular, and electronic devices in general, is approaching the realm where only fully quantum mechanical theory can explain the fluctuations in (and limitations of) these devices. Pushing the frontiers of the very small and very fast looks set to bring about a revolution in our understanding of many fundamental processes in e.g. physics, chemistry and even biology with widespread applications. Although the fundamental basis of quantum theory remains intact, more recent theoretical and experimental developments have led researchers to use the laws of quantum mechanics in new and exciting ways - allowing the manipulation of matter on the atomic scale for hitherto undreamt of applications. This field not only holds the promise of addressing the issue of quantum fluctuations but of turning the quantum behaviour of nano- structures to our advantage. Indeed, the continued development of high-technology is crucial and we are convinced that our proposed CDT can play an important role. When a new field emerges a key challenge in meeting the current and future demands of industry is appropriate training, which is what we propose to achieve in this CDT. The UK plays a leading role in the theory and experimental development of CQD and Imperial College is a centre of excellence within this context. The team involved in the proposed CDT covers a wide range of key activities from theory to experiment. Collectively we have an outstanding track record in research, training of postgraduate students and teaching. The aim of the proposed CDT is to provide a coherent training environment bringing together PhD students from a wide variety of backgrounds and giving them an appreciation of experiment and theory of related fields under the umbrella of CQD. Students graduating from our programme will subsequently find themselves in high-demand both by industry and academia. The proposed CDT addresses the EPSRC strategic area Quantum Information Processing and Quantum Optics and one of the priority areas of the CDT call, Towards Quantum Technologies. The excellence of our doctoral training has been recognised by the award of a highly competitive EU Innovative Doctoral Programme (IDP) in Frontiers of Quantum Technology, which will start in October 2013 running for four years with the budget around 3.8 million euros. The new CDT will closely work with the IDP to maximise synergy. It is clear that other high-profile activities within the general area of CQD are being undertaken in a range of other UK universities and within Imperial College. A key aim of our DTC is inclusivity. We operate a model whereby academics from outside of Imperial College can act as co-supervisors for PhD students on collaborative projects whereby the student spends part of the PhD at the partner institution whilst remaining closely tied to Imperial College and the student cohort. Many of the CDT activities including lectures and summer schools will be open to other PhD students within the UK. Outreach and transferable skills courses will be emphasised to provide a set of outreach classes and to organise various outreach activities including the CDT in CQD Quantum Show to the general public and CDT Festivals and to participate in Imperials Science Festivals.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2014

Quantum technologies promise a transformation of measurement, communication and computation by using ideas originating from quantum physics. The UK was the birthplace of many of the seminal ideas and techniques; the technologies are now ready to translate from the laboratory into industrial applications. Since international companies are already moving in this area, there is a critical need across the UK for highly-skilled researchers who will be the future leaders in quantum technology. Our proposal is driven by the need to train this new generation of leaders. They will need to be equipped to function in a complex research and engineering landscape where quantum physics meets cryptography, complexity and information theory, devices, materials, software and hardware engineering. We propose to train a cohort of leaders to meet these challenges within the highly interdisciplinary research environment provided by UCL, its commercial and governmental laboratory partners. In their first year the students will obtain a background in devices, information and computational sciences through three concentrated modules organized around current research issues. They will complete a team project and a longer individual research project, preparing them for their choice of main research doctoral topic at the end of the year. Cross-cohort training in communication skills, technology transfer, enterprise, teamwork and career planning will continue throughout the four years. Peer to peer learning will be continually facilitated not only by organized cross-cohort activities, but also by the day to day social interaction among the members of the cohort thanks to their co-location at UCL.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 4.56M | Year: 2016

Today we use many objects not normally associated with computers or the internet. These include gas meters and lights in our homes, healthcare devices, water distribution systems and cars. Increasingly, such objects are digitally connected and some are transitioning from cellular network connections (M2M) to using the internet: e.g. smart meters and cars - ultimately self-driving cars may revolutionise transport. This trend is driven by numerous forces. The connection of objects and use of their data can cut costs (e.g. allowing remote control of processes) creates new business opportunities (e.g. tailored consumer offerings), and can lead to new services (e.g. keeping older people safe in their homes). This vision of interconnected physical objects is commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. The examples above not only illustrate the vast potential of such technology for economic and societal benefit, they also hint that such a vision comes with serious challenges and threats. For example, information from a smart meter can be used to infer when people are at home, and an autonomous car must make quick decisions of moral dimensions when faced with a child running across on a busy road. This means the Internet of Things needs to evolve in a trustworthy manner that individuals can understand and be comfortable with. It also suggests that the Internet of Things needs to be resilient against active attacks from organised crime, terror organisations or state-sponsored aggressors. Therefore, this project creates a Hub for research, development, and translation for the Internet of Things, focussing on privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security/safety: PETRAS, (also suggesting rock-solid foundations) for the Internet of Things. The Hub will be designed and run as a social and technological platform. It will bring together UK academic institutions that are recognised international research leaders in this area, with users and partners from various industrial sectors, government agencies, and NGOs such as charities, to get a thorough understanding of these issues in terms of the potentially conflicting interests of private individuals, companies, and political institutions; and to become a world-leading centre for research, development, and innovation in this problem space. Central to the Hub approach is the flexibility during the research programme to create projects that explore issues through impactful co-design with technical and social science experts and stakeholders, and to engage more widely with centres of excellence in the UK and overseas. Research themes will cut across all projects: Privacy and Trust; Safety and Security; Adoption and Acceptability; Standards, Governance, and Policy; and Harnessing Economic Value. Properly understanding the interaction of these themes is vital, and a great social, moral, and economic responsibility of the Hub in influencing tomorrows Internet of Things. For example, a secure system that does not adequately respect privacy, or where there is the mere hint of such inadequacy, is unlikely to prove acceptable. Demonstrators, like wearable sensors in health care, will be used to explore and evaluate these research themes and their tension. New solutions are expected to come out of the majority of projects and demonstrators, many solutions will be generalisable to problems in other sectors, and all projects will produce valuable insights. A robust governance and management structure will ensure good management of the research portfolio, excellent user engagement and focussed coordination of impact from deliverables. The Hub will further draw on the expertise, networks, and on-going projects of its members to create a cross-disciplinary language for sharing problems and solutions across research domains, industrial sectors, and government departments. This common language will enhance the outreach, development, and training activities of the Hub.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 2.51M | Year: 2015

Glass has been a key material for many important advances in civilization; it was glass lenses which allowed microscopes to see bacteria for the first time and telescopes which revealed the planets and the moons of Jupiter. Glassware itself has contributed to the development of chemical, biological and cultural progress for thousands of years. The transformation of society with glass continues in modern times; as strands of glass optical fibres transform the internet and how we communicate. Today, glasses have moved beyond transparent materials, and through ongoing research have become active advanced and functional materials. Unlike conventional glasses made from silica or sand, research is now producing glasses from materials such as sulphur, which yields an unusual, yellow orange glass with incredibly varied properties. This next generation of speciality glasses are noted for their functionality and their ability to respond to optical, electrical and thermal stimuli. These glasses have the ability to switch, bend, self-organize and darken when exposed to light, they can even conduct electricity. They transmit light in the infra-red, which ordinary glass blocks and the properties of these glasses can even change, when strong light is incident upon them. The demand for speciality glass is growing and these advanced materials are of national importance for the UK. Our businesses that produce and process materials have a turnover of around £170 billion per annum; represent 15% of the countrys GDP and have exports valued at £50 billion. With our proposed research programme we will produce extremely pure, highly functional glasses, unique to the world. The aims of our proposed research are as follows: - To establish the UK as a world-leading speciality glass research and manufacturing facility - To discovery new and optimize existing glass compositions, particularly in glasses made with sulphur - To develop links with UK industry and help them to expit these new glass materials - To demonstrate important new electronic, telecommunication, switching devices from these glasses - To partner other UK Universities to explore new and emerging applications of speciality glass To achieve these goals we bring together a world-class, UK team of physicists, chemists, engineers and computer scientists from Southampton, Exeter, Oxford, Cambridge and Heriot-Watt Universities. We are partners with over 15 UK companies who will use these materials in their products or contribute to new ways of manufacturing them. This proposal therefore provides a unique opportunity to underpin a substantial national programme in speciality-glass manufacture, research and development.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 504.83K | Year: 2016

The goal of this MURI team is to develop machines that have the following capabilities: i) Represent visual knowledge in probabilistic compositional models in spatial, temporal, and causal hierarchies augmented with rich attributes and relations, use task-oriented representations for efficient task-dependent inference from an agents perspective, and preserve uncertainties; ii) Acquire massive visual commonsense via web scale continuous lifelong learning from large and small data in weakly supervised HCI, and maintain consistence via dialogue with humans; iii) Achieve deep understanding of scenes and events through joint parsing and cognitive reasoning about appearance, geometry, functions, physics, causality, intents and belief of agents, and use joint and long-range reasoning to fill the performance gap with human vision; iv) Understand human needs and values, interact with humans effectively, and answer human queries about what, who, where, when, why and how in storylines through Turing tests. Collaboration with US: Principal Investigator: Dr. Song-Chun Zhu Tel. 310-206-8693, Fax. 310-206-5658, email: sczhu@stat.ucla.edu Institution: University of California, Los Angeles Statistics and Computer Science 8125 Math Sciences Bldg, Box 951554, Los Angeles, CA 90095 Institution proposal no. 20153924 Other universities in the US CMU: Martial Hebert Computer Vision, Robotics & AI Abhinav Gupta Computer Vision, Lifelong Learning MIT: Joshua Tenenbaum Cognitive Modeling and Learning Nancy Kanwisher Cognitive Neuroscience Stanford: Fei-Fei Li Computer Vision, Psychology & AI UIUC Derek Hoiem Computer Vision, Machine Learning Yale Brian Scholl Psychology, Cognitive Science


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 858.32K | Year: 2015

Autonomous robots, capable of independent and intelligent navigation through unknown environments, have the potential to significantly increase human safety and security. They could replace people in potentially hazardous tasks, for instance search and rescue operations in disaster zones, or surveys of nuclear/chemical installations. Vision is one of the primary senses that can enable this capability, however, visual information processing is notoriously difficult, especially at speeds required for fast moving robots, and in particular where low weight, power dissipation and cost of the system are of concern. Conventional hardware and algorithms are not up to the task. The proposal here is to tightly integrate novel sensing and processing hardware, together with vision, navigation and control algorithms, to enable the next generation of autonomous robots. At the heart of the system will be a device known as a vision chip. This bespoke integrated circuit differs from a conventional image sensor, including a processor with each pixel. This will offer unprecedented performance. The massively parallel processor array will be programmed to pre-process images, passing higher-level feature information upstream to vision tracking algorithms and the control system. Feature extraction at pixel level results in an extremely efficient and high speed throughput of information. Another feature of the new vision chip will be the measurement of time of flight data in each pixel. This will allow the distance to a feature to be extracted and combined with the image plane data for vision tracking, simplifying and speeding up the real-time state estimation and mapping capabilities. Vision algorithms will be developed to make the most optimal use of this novel hardware technology. This project will not only develop a unique vision processing system, but will also tightly integrate the control system design. Vision and control systems have been traditionally developed independently, with the downstream flow of information from sensor through to motor control. In our system, information flow will be bidirectional. Control system parameters will be passed to the image sensor itself, guiding computational effort and reducing processing overheads. For example a rotational demand passed into the control system, will not only result in control actuation for vehicle movement, but will also result in optic tracking along the same path. A key component of the project will therefore be the management and control of information across all three layers: sensing, visual perception and control. Information share will occur at multiple rates and may either be scheduled or requested. Shared information and distributed computation will provide a breakthrough in control capabilities for highly agile robotic systems. Whilst applicable to a very wide range of disciplines, our system will be tested in the demanding field of autonomous aerial robotics. We will integrate the new vision sensors onboard an unmanned air vehicle (UAV), developing a control system that will fully exploit the new tracking capabilities. This will serve as a demonstration platform for the complete vision system, incorporating nonlinear algorithms to control the vehicle through agile manoeuvres and rapidly changing trajectories. Although specific vision tracking and control algorithms will be used for the project, the hardware itself and system architecture will be applicable to a very wide range of tasks. Any application that is currently limited by tracking capabilities, in particular when combined with a rapid, demanding control challenge would benefit from this work. We will demonstrate a step change in agile, vision-based control of UAVs for exploration, and in doing so develop an architecture which will have benefits in fields as diverse as medical robotics and industrial production.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.48M | Year: 2016

The theme of this platform grant is electronic-photonic convergence. It underpins expertise in integrated photonics platforms such as silicon photonics, mid-IR photonics, non-linear photonics and high speed electronics, all of which make use of a common fabrication platform. The convergence of electronics and photonics underpins a host of technologies ranging from future internet to consumer products, and from biological and chemical sensing to communications. The integration of electronics and photonics is recognised as the only way to manage the massive data demands of the future, and is consequently crucial to the continuation of the digital age. Silicon Photonics is an example of an emerging technology that will bring photonics to mass markets via integration with electronics. Integrated silicon systems are projected to serve a market in excess of $700M by 2024 (Yole Development, 2014), but is reliant on photonics converging with electronics. Furthermore, some aspects of silicon photonics will encompass non-linear photonics in second generation devices for all optical processing in a fully integrated platform. Similarly, related technologies such as SiGe-on-Insulator and Ge-on-Insulator are poised to revolutionise the next generation of communications and integrated sensor technologies, all on an integrated platform with electronics and non-linear photonics. Underpinning a team in these crucial areas of expertise supported by a flexible funding platform will enable us to pioneer work in these technology areas, and to add value to ideas that emerge. The convergence of electronics and photonics will result in complex integrated systems, linked via fabrication technologies. Electronic-photonic integration has yet to be addressed in a meaningful way in silicon based technologies, and this team collectively have the essential skills to do so, at an institution that possesses the key fabrication equipment to facilitate success. Due to the complex nature of fabrication for research, existing RAs are fully utilised, and have little or no additional scope for strategic research. The platform grant will give us the opportunity to dedicate fabrication resource and RA skills to strategic projects, and specific innovation. We will do this by utilising the RAs within the project to deliver work of significant strategic importance to the portfolio of grants held by the group, whilst also developing the research and managerial skills of the RAs by giving them specific management responsibilities whilst being mentored by one of the investigators.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 443.43K | Year: 2016

The goal of this MURI team is to develop machines that have the following capabilities: i) Represent visual knowledge in probabilistic compositional models in spatial, temporal, and causal hierarchies augmented with rich attributes and relations, use task-oriented representations for efficient task-dependent inference from an agents perspective, and preserve uncertainties; ii) Acquire massive visual commonsense via web scale continuous lifelong learning from large and small data in weakly supervised HCI, and maintain consistence via dialogue with humans; iii) Achieve deep understanding of scenes and events through joint parsing and cognitive reasoning about appearance, geometry, functions, physics, causality, intents and belief of agents, and use joint and long-range reasoning to fill the performance gap with human vision; iv) Understand human needs and values, interact with humans effectively, and answer human queries about what, who, where, when, why and how in storylines through Turing tests. Collaboration with US: Principal Investigator: Dr. Song-Chun Zhu Tel. 310-206-8693, Fax. 310-206-5658, email: sczhu@stat.ucla.edu Institution: University of California, Los Angeles Statistics and Computer Science 8125 Math Sciences Bldg, Box 951554, Los Angeles, CA 90095 Institution proposal no. 20153924 Other universities in the US CMU: Martial Hebert Computer Vision, Robotics & AI Abhinav Gupta Computer Vision, Lifelong Learning MIT: Joshua Tenenbaum Cognitive Modeling and Learning Nancy Kanwisher Cognitive Neuroscience Stanford: Fei-Fei Li Computer Vision, Psychology & AI UIUC Derek Hoiem Computer Vision, Machine Learning Yale Brian Scholl Psychology, Cognitive Science


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 2.05M | Year: 2015

For nearly a half century, investigations of a strong field laser-matter interaction have resulted in new fundamental discoveries and have fueled numerous applications. Historically, the advancement of strong field (SF) physics depended upon a symbiotic relationship between laser engineering and scientific discovery - new lasers enable science & applications while new discovery further drives innovative optical engineering. Although highly successful, present day laser technology has restricted the majority of SF studies to a narrow spectral window of visible & near infrared (NIR) wavelengths. This is now recognized as a consequential limitation, because over the last decade it has become clear that all SF phenomena benefit when they are driven at longer mid-infrared (MIR) wavelengths. At the present time we stand at a crossroad for discovery, where the road toward novel MIR technology can again transform SF physics, both our understanding of it and its applications. In fact, as presented in this proposal, increasing the wavelength is a faster, more robust path towards new physics than even increasing the intensity. The MURI MIR team will seize this opportunity with a broad in-depth research program aimed at advancing experiments, theory and technology for MIR SF interaction studies. In addition, our program is consciously constructed to directly connect these studies to DoD relevant applications in remote sensing, directed energy, tabletop coherent short wavelength light sources, compact particle accelerators and MIR laser technology. Our team encompasses five linked thrust areas. Four of these thrusts focus on SF MIR science in fundamental ionization, filamentation in air, generation of coherent harmonic radiation and MIR driven ion & electron laser-plasma accelerators. The continuity of topics is anchored by foundational studies in simple systems and evolves across thrust areas to greater complexity. Recognizing lessons from the past, the fifth thrust is devoted to the development of novel MIR laser technology to advance our science thrust. The MURI MIR team is an alliance between 6 co-PIs in 5 US universities and 6 co-PIs at Imperial College in the UK. The team also forms key collaborative alliances with world leading laboratories. Overall there is balance in experiment & theory, complementary expertise, capabilities and educational value on both sides of the Atlantic. The team members are recognized leaders in MIR physics and as such bring competency & state-of-the-art MIR facilities to the program.

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