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Robotics and Autonomous Systems – Vision Challenges and Actions



09:00 - 17:00


Transforming our future

Robotics and autonomous systems represent key areas of scientific and engineering endeavour now and in the future. They are of immense societal impact, pervading all areas of society including medicine, transport, and manufacturing. There is great potential for industrial advances including new start-up companies, economic opportunities for the UK and elsewhere. Realising the potential for these new technologies requires transformational science and engineering closely allied with industry and government.

This high-level conference will bring together national and international leaders in robotics and autonomous systems across academia, industry and government to scope the long-term vision (20 to 30 years) and challenges in this exciting and rapidly developing field. It will define actions required to ensure maximum impact for society from robotics and autonomous systems.

The discussion will be captured in a conference report, providing invaluable evidence informing decision/policy makers about the actions required to nurture, promote and benefit from innovation in robotics and autonomous systems.

Attending this event

This event is intended for representatives from industry, academia and government who have an interest in robotics and autonomous systems or who are seeking to understand its potential impacts. Please contact the Industry Team for further information.

About the conference series

The conference is the second in a new and unique series launched by the Royal Society to address the major scientific and technical challenges of the next decade and beyond. Breakthrough Science and Technologies: Transforming our Future conferences will feature cutting-edge science from industry and academia and bring together leading experts from the wider scientific community, industry, government, funding bodies and charities.

Each conference will focus on one topic and will seek to cover key issues, including:

  • The current state of the key industry sectors involved
  • The position of the UK and how it can benefit from the technology
  • The future direction of research
  • The challenges faced in turning research into commercial success
  • The skills base needed to deliver major scientific advances
  • The wider social and economic impacts

The conferences are a key component of the Society’s five-year Science, Industry and Translation initiative which demonstrates our commitment to reintegrate science and industry at the Society and to promote science and its value by connecting academia, industry and government.


Event organisers

Select an organiser for more information

Schedule of talks

13 November

Morning speakers 09:30-13:00

6 talks Show detail Hide detail


Professor Chris Melhuish, Bristol Robotics Laboratory

09:30-09:35 Opening Remarks

Professor Peter Bruce FRS, University of Oxford, UK

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09:35-10:10 Human and machine in the age of experience: new possibilities to invent a more sustainable world

Dr Bernard Charlès, President and CEO, Dassault Systèmes

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10:10-10:45 Creating Innovation from Invention: the UK RAS strategy and lessons from marine robotics

Professor David Lane FREng, Heriot-Watt University

Show speakers

11:15-11:50 Machines that learn to see – big data or explanatory models?

Professor Andrew Blake FREng FRS, The Alan Turing Institute

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11:50-12:25 Shared autonomy for interactive robotics: closing the loop

Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, The University of Edinburgh

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12:25-13:00 Haptic intelligence in robotics

Professor Katherine J. Kuchenbecker, University of Pennsylvania

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Lunch 13:00-14:00

Afternoon Speakers 14:00-17:00

4 talks Show detail Hide detail


Professor Carole Mundell, University of Bath

Dick Elsy, CEO, High Value Manufacturing Catapult

14:00-14:35 It's all about the people: the next major step towards everyday robots

Professor Nick Roy, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT

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14:35-15:10 Robots in agriculture

Professor Peter Corke, Queensland University of Technology

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15:40-16:15 Mobile autonomy: a pervasive technology

Professor Paul Newman FREng, University of Oxford

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16:15-16:50 Microrobotics and nanomedicine: future directions in medical robotics

Professor Bradley Nelson, ETH-Zurich

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Related events

Robotics and Autonomous Systems – Vision Challenges and Actions

Conference bringing together national and international leaders in robotics and autonomous systems across academia, industry and government to scope the long-term vision (20 to 30 years) and challenges.

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