The University of Birmingham is one of the largest UK research universities, and was ranked UK University of the Year, 2013. It houses one of the leading and most diverse robotics research groups in the UK, with robotics research projects spanning 6 different schools across the campus. The RoMaNS project will involve School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Computer Science. In the previous UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), both schools were ranked 7th in the country, with 75%(CS) and 70%(ME) of our research rated “world leading or internationally excellent”.
CNRS is the largest and most famous national research institute in France. Composed of several research units, the CNRS lab involved in Romans is IRISA in Rennes, France. IRISA is a joint lab between CNRS, Inria and University of Rennes 1 spreading its activities through 30 research teams working in computer science, signal processing, and control. It is made up of about 650 people, including 120 professors and assistant professors, 100 full-time researchers, 80 administrative staff, and 250 PhD students. The research team involved in RoMaNS is the Lagadic group, headed by François Chaumette. It is composed of about 20 scientists working in computer vision and robotics, especially in visual tracking and visual servoing.
The Technische Universität at Darmstadt (TUDa) is one of Germany’s leading technical universities, and also Germany’s first fully autonomous university. TUDa has a state funded budget of 270 million Euros (2010, incl. building funds) and currently participates in 68 FP7 projects. The Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS) institute of TUDa is considered one of the strongest robot learning groups in Europe with expertise ranging from the development of novel machine learning methods (e.g., novel reinforcement learning approaches, policy search, imitation learning, regression approaches, etc.) over autonomous robotics (e.g., robot learning architectures, motor skill representation, acquisition & refinement, skill generalization, grasping, manipulation, operational space control, robot table tennis, up to the design of biomimetic motor control systems and brain-robot interfaces. IAS members are well-known researchers both in the machine learning and the robotics community.
Commissariat a l’energie atomique et aux energies alternatives, France
French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a French R&D governmental agency whose field of expertise ranges from nuclear industry to bio sciences. CEA is a key player in research, development and innovation in the areas of energy, defence, information technologies, communication and health. CEA-LIST is a research department inside CEA. Based in Ile-de-France (in the neighbourhood of Paris), CEA-LIST combines basic research and industrial R&D within a dynamic structure, and is mainly financed by industrial contracts. The project-based culture of its scientists, engineers and technicians makes it a natural partner for industry seeking breakthrough technology, from the initial concept down to working demonstrators. Within CEA-LIST, the Interactive Robotics Lab (LRI) works on the development, control and use of interactive robots working in close collaboration with humans (remotely operated robots, collaborative robots, force feedback interfaces and haptic devices).
The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) has over 10,000 person-years of nuclear industry experience across the whole nuclear fuel cycle. The core business is to provide the experts and technologies to ensure the UK nuclear industry operates safely and cost-effectively today and for the future. In addition to operating safely and delivering to customers, the business objectives include helping to safeguard the UK’s strategic nuclear skills and capabilities and to develop the customer base into new markets. The NNL offers products and technical services across the whole range of nuclear industry sectors, which include asset care, measurement and analysis, waste management technology, safety management, decommissioning and waste residues assessment, characterisation and processing. The NNL has unique facilities, which includes three radiologically active facilities.
The Robotics and Remote Engineering team have an impressive history of deploying bespoke and COTS robotics in hazardous nuclear environments. Examples include robotically diverting a highly radioactive pipe by cutting, capping, weld prep, welding and x-ray inspection, remote systems to remove debris from vessels and bespoke manipulators for inspection of radiological environments.