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Department of Computer Science

Human-Robot Collaboration for Flexible Manufacturing (iCAse PhD with BAE Systems)

Primary supervisor

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Other projects with the same supervisor


  • Directly Funded Project (European/UK Students Only)

This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Project description

As manufacturers of high complexity, low volume products with considerable variation in build standards, one obstacle to our adoption of widespread robotics in the manufacturing process is the amount of programming required - it is currently difficult to see sufficient return on investment. The ability for the robot to understand what is required during collaboration with people to produce a solution autonomously and via imitation learning, would drastically reduce programming times, resulting in agile, reconfigurable manufacturing.

Current robotics and AI research on human-robot interaction and collaboration between people and cobots (collaborative robots) has led to the design of machine learning models of intention recognition, e.g. for the prediction of the goal of a cooperative task (e.g. Vinanzi et al. 2019) and for action learning via kinaesthetic imitation and linguistic instruction (Zhong et al. 2019). These models have been developed for simplified joint task scenarios, in laboratory settings. The latest advances in AI (e.g. deep learning; S??nderhauf et al. 2018) offer a timely opportunity to scale up intentional reading models for collaboration in realistic, industry setting scenarios. This will lead to the system understanding of its environment and the components with which it is required to interact, using a combination of visual and action recognition AI methods and interrogation of CAD models/digital twin.

Person specification

For information


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will have good time management.
  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.


Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?