NT1: Advanced Principles of Robotics


Professor David Lane (HWU): d.m.lane@hw.ac.uk


  • Regularly with supervisors.
  • Group skype for status update as will be requested ad-hoc by course Staff
  • Monthly brief summary reports on activities and progress due on the last day of each month February – December 2015 (see appendix 2)



Credits: 8 (double course: 200 hours of study)


To obtain a deeper understanding of some underpinning fundamentals in the ROBOCADEMY themes of Fellows’ choice, including skills in their use in some application exemplars of varying complexity.


This is a directed self-study course in the first year of the Academy. It will develop a self-defined portfolio of learning activities, co-ordinated by HWU with the support of Supervisors

The Advanced Principles of Robotics course provides Academy Fellows with the opportunity to define and study in detail some relevant underpinning fundamentals that are likely to provide the foundations for research project topics. Through a directed approach to specifying and then studying, Fellows will be able to address topics that most take their interest, aligned with the research themes of the Academy.

The three scientific actions lines are;

  • A1. Disturbance Rejection: Rejection of the disturbance effects caused by the water medium that corrupt the robots movement, navigation and perception.
  • A2. Perception: Develop new sensor processing and deployment approaches to overcome the opaqueness of the Ocean, and
  • A3. Autonomy: Increase the sophistication of the robots’ automatic decision making and awareness, so as to extend the length time between requests for operator assistance, and the volume of water that can be investigated.

Full details of these action themes are outlined in the Strategic Research Agenda

Complementing the training courses available to Fellows, the task is to identify a series of core topics over the first year of the Academy and plan a series of study activities to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in the area.

The learning resources available to Fellows include the courses running across the Academy (Appendix 1), as well as various online materials including MOOCS, IEEE XPLORE, Google Scholar and even the local library.

Fellows can also approach lecturers of courses running in the Universities for access to learning materials they have prepared. In some cases these are online also.


Phase 1: Formulation

Working with their supervisor, Fellows should identify a contemporary topic of interest, with sufficient scope, complexity and utility. Prepare and present to the Academy a short summary report (2 pages max) to: 

  • Identify and bound the topic
  • Justify the choice in the context of future interests and intentions
  • Populate the portfolio spreadsheet with key sub-themes and with knowledge, understanding and skills to be improved, using the traffic lights scheme.
  • Provide a provisional shortlist of relevant references to likely papers, books, on-line materials, local experts or businesses as the basis for further study.
  • Plan actions and meetings to gain further information

Phase 2: Comprehension

  • Execute the plan in phase I through reading, seminar attendance, drop–ins to other available elective courses at the Fellow’s institution as timetable allows.
  • Meet regularly with the supervisor (as possible) to obtain feedback and assistance and to monitor Fellow’s progress.
  • Draft a provisional Contents page for a novice’s introduction to the area, sufficient to provide tools and techniques to PhD level use.
  • Start to populate sections of the Contents page as understanding grows


Phase 3: Investigation

  • Conceive a series of experiments and implementations to exercise the topic, working from simple to complex.
  • Consider software and simulation, but also the use of test-bed platforms and fabrication facilities across ROBOCADEMY. (this may requires some negotiation with colleagues)
  • Use the results of these investigations to inform Phase 2 Comprehension studies, working in a spiral of activity.
  • Document the investigations and any code, including experimental results and lessons learned.
  • Present results and progress to the group and/or supervisor on a regular basis according to progress and need.


Phase 4: Reportage

  • Conclude and publish introduction to the area using materials from the Comprehension and Investigation phases.
  • Give a short Masterclass to the Academy on the area and Fellow’s investigations


A rough and flexible schedule to progress activities would be:

Phase 1: Formulation:             Feb-March 2015
Phase 2: Comprehension:      March-May 2015
Phase 3: Investigation:           May-October 2015
Phase 4: Reportage:                November-December 2015


  • Review paper introducing the area, including experimentation: 70%
  • Master Class presentation to the group: 25%
  • Group attendance, participation and interaction: 5%


Group presentation of topics: May 6-8 2015, Bremen

Reports are due by: 31 December 2015

Group Masterclasses session on all topics will be held : January 2016, Edinburgh

last updated 09.02.2015
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