Persistent and Shared Autonomy for Interactive Robotics

Recorded On: 05/25/2016

The next generation of robots are going to work much more closely with humans, other robots and interact significantly with the environment around it. As a result, the key paradigms are shifting from isolated decision making systems to one that involves sharing control -- with significant autonomy devolved to the RAS systems; and end-users in the loop making only high level decisions.

The key questions is: while the robots are ready to share control, what is the optimal trade-off between autonomy and control that we are comfortable with?
This talk will look at technologies ranging from robust multi-modal sensing, shared representations, compliant actuation and real-time learning and adaptation that are enabling us to reap the benefits of increased autonomy while still feeling securely in control.

Domains where this debate is relevant NOW include self-driving cars, mining, shared manufacturing, exoskeletons for rehabilitation, active prosthetics, large scale scheduling (e.g. transport) systems as well as Oil and Gas exploration to list a few.

This webinar is categorized under the Drilling discipline.

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David Lane

Professor of Autonomous Systems Engineering, Ocean Systems Laboratory, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

David Lane graduated in 1980 with a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and again in 1986 with a PhD in Underwater Robotics. In 1979 he worked offshore in the North Sea as diver/maintainer for British Oceanics Ltd, and from 1980-82 as a Development Engineer at Ferranti Ltd. From 1982 he held a series of research and academic appointments, culminating in a Professorial Chair at Heriot-Watt University in 1998, and visiting Professorships at Florida Atlantic University in 1999 and Edinburgh University from 2006. In 1995 he took up Directorship of the University's Ocean Systems Laboratory and led it's development to a staff of 30 with £27M total funding from the UK Research Councils, Ministry of Defence, European Union and US Office of Naval Research. In 2001 he founded SeeByte Ltd ( and as CEO until 2010 lead the company's organic evolution from startup to a multi-million dollar organization, growing at an average 45% pa during the recession, continually cash positive, with 75% of its business in exports to three continents and offices in Edinburgh, San Diego and Seattle. Under his leadership SeeByte won their first $8-figure export contract (US Navy) in 2009 and in 2010 an $8-figure new autonomous vehicle development for the offshore oil industry, in partnership with Subsea 7. In 2007 he became President of SeeByte Inc. The company won the 2010 Praxis Unico Business Impact Achieved Award and 2013 Scottish Digital Technology Award for International Growth. At exit in 2013 to Bluefin Robotics, Boston, Mass. (a subsidiary of Battelle), 43 shareholders benefited. In 1995 he was H.Burr Steinbach Visiting Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and in 2007 was Scientific Advisor to the NATO Undersea Research Centre, La Spezia, Italy. Currently he is Founder and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, ( a £35M joint venture between Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities, involving some 30 world leading investigators in 12 cross disciplinary research groups across Engineering and Informatics. It includes the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), and the ROBOTARIUM National Equipment Facility for Research into Robot Interaction. He also co-ordinates the EU FP7 Challenge 2 project PANDORA, (, and leads in others including ARROWS, ROBOCADEMY, H2020 LAKSHMI and EPSRC Sustained Autonomy < (, Nationally, from 2013-15 he chaired the BIS/TSB Robotics and Autonomous Systems Special Interest Group (RAS-SIG) reporting to Minister for Universities and Science (one of the 8 Great Technologies underpinning UK Govt industrial strategy) developing the UKs RAS innovation pipeline for jobs and growth. From 2013-15 he was also a Director of the euRobotics aisbl not-for-profit that shapes Horizon2020 Robotics PPP between research and industry. He has been elected to Fellowships of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Geographical Society, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Society for Underwater Technology and the Court of Heriot-Watt University (2011-14).

Sethu Vijayakumar

Professor of Robotics in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, UK

Sethu Vijayakumar is the Professor of Robotics in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, UK and Director of the Institute for Perception, Action and Behavior (IPAB) as well as the co-Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. Since August 2007, he holds the prestigious Senior Research Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering, co-funded by Microsoft Research. He also holds additional appointments as an Adjunct Faculty of the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles and a Visiting Research Scientist at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan. Prof. Vijayakumar, who has a PhD from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has pioneered the use of large scale machine learning techniques in the real time control of large degree of freedom anthropomorphic robotic systems including the SARCOS and the HONDA ASIMO humanoid robots, KUKA-DLR robot arm and iLIMB prosthetic hand. His research interest spans a broad interdisciplinary curriculum ranging from statistical machine learning, adaptive control, and actuator design to human motor control and computational neuroscience. He is the author of over 150 highly cited publications in these fields and the winner of the IEEE Vincent Bendix award, the Japanese Monbusho fellowship, 2013 IEEE Transaction on Robotics Best Paper Award and several other awards from leading conferences. He has been the scientific coordinator and lead PI for a number of national, EU and international research projects, attracting over £25M in research funding over the past 8 years besides serving on numerous EU, DFG and NSF grant review panels and program committees of leading machine learning and robotics conferences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a keen science communicator with a significant annual outreach agenda.

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Web Event
05/25/2016 at 10:00 AM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
05/25/2016 at 10:00 AM (EDT)   |  90 minutes Scheduled for 90 minutes.
CEU Credit
Live and Archive Viewing: 0.15 CEU credits and certificate available
Live and Archive Viewing: 0.15 CEU credits and certificate available CEU Credit