Article by cohort 2 reseacher Rhys Comissiong.

On the 1st July, I participated in the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Hackathon hosted by Transport Systems Catapult (TSC). The event was held at their Milton Keynes office where each team had the opportunity to tackle one of the five challenges. These included: exploring CAV data, CAV ecosystem business models, build a LUTZ simulation, environmental impact and accessible CAV design. We had 26 hours to work on the challenges before presenting at to a panel of judges and the other competitors.

Cav HackTeam ROSteK consisted of myself, Dr Thomas Steffen (my supervisor), Mauricio Silva (University of Northampton) and Ashton Bowen (De Montfort University). We decided to tackle the challenge of building a CAV simulation. TSC provided us with data, equipment (including a driving simulator and an Omnideck virtual reality simulator), and expert mentors in the field of autonomous vehicles and simulation. We recognised that a key challenge to testing autonomous vehicles is latency of feedback of the controller during simulation. For this reason, we wanted to find a way of putting the actual controller of the autonomous vehicle within the simulation, rather than modelling it. We achieved this by creating an MQTT broker to bridge the virtual world in Unity (windows-based gaming engine) and the controller in Linux-based Robotic Operating System (ROS). This allowed us to test the quality of a controller, similar to how you would test an engine on a test bed before putting it in a vehicle in the automotive industry.

Our business pitch to the judges was that through high performance computing you could exponentially increase the amount of testing prior to putting the autonomous vehicle on the road. Each group had 4 minutes to present their ideas which was then judged on novelty, technical complexity, business model and quality of presentation. Our efforts of working continuously through the night were rewarded by being declared the winners of the weekend. We were given Amazon Echo Dot’s as a prize and the top 3 groups were put through to present our ideas at the showcase finale at the London Transport Museum on the 12th July.

We had just over a week to further develop our ideas and put together a 10-minute presentation on as a business pitch. At the showcase finale, there was a drinks reception within the museum; which allowed for networking opportunity with people from academia, government and industry, and a vast range of disciplines. Around 100 people were in attendance, which included a different expert panel of judges and guest speakers. At the end of the presenting the judges were given the opportunity to ask questions which focused on the business, social and ethical issues of the projects. The winners were presented with a £2000 prize and the opportunity to present their work to the industry sponsors. Team ROSteK finished as runners up.

Despite not winning the showcase finale, it was a fantastic opportunity to learn about advances in the field of autonomous vehicles. The most significant thing I learnt was how important it is to tailor the information we delivered to our audiences. Depending on their background their agendas would vastly differ and so you had a to have an extensive knowledge to be able to answer the range of questions and explain why your work is both relevant and applicable. This is something I plan on doing with my own PhD work when preparing for presenting, communicating with my sponsor company and networking.

Cohort 3 researcher Matt Hammond describes the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) seminar about Low Temperature Pressure Systems he recently attended.

I attended this seminar on the 28th June 2017 at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering training centre in Sheffield. The seminar was organised by the IMechE to discuss views on the standards and regulations of low temperature and high pressure storage and process systems, and how they impact the design and operation of such systems. The seminar saw representatives from various industries including materials engineering, industrial gases, and oil and gas, come together to discuss key issues in the operation of different systems, their failure modes and integrity management solutions. Of particular interest to my research were presentations on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) systems including “LNG fuel systems for marine propulsion” delivered by Oscar Kallerdahl (Vice President LNG Systems, Rolls Royce) in Norway and “integrity management in ageing LNG facilities” delivered by Azrul Hilmi, DNV GL. With my research taking place in a laboratory environment, it was interesting to hear insights into the issues and solutions on a process scale and in the use of LNG as a fuel. I also took the opportunity to network and discuss my research with various attendees.

TSS@ETS 2017

11 July 2017

Cohort 3 researcher, Gergely Hantos, tells us about The Test Spring School and European Test Symposium 2017

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As part of The European Test Symposium (ETS'17), The Test Spring School (TSS@ETS 2017) ran over 3 days and was aimed at PhD and MSc students. Renowned experts introduced attendees to modern test, dependability and fault tolerance technology and presented the main challenges faced by the nanoelectronic systems industry. It was held in Nicosia, Cyprus and on the final day we were transported to Limassol for the last lectures and the start of IEEE European Test Symposium (ETS).
Both TSS and ETS were highly relevant to my research area and I was hoping to get a deeper understanding of state of the art testing methods and to get to know the latest built-in-self-test strategies of MEMS. Both events did not disappoint and I was exposed to the current trends in emerging test strategies and the utilisation possibilities of machine learning in testing. I learned a lot of new things and now I am able to approach my work from a different point of view. One aspect is that I am going to broaden my research towards machine learning.
There were many parts I could highlight as most enjoyable, it is hard to decide. The social activities were brilliant, the visited cities were wonderful and the lecture by Yiorgos Makris on Machine Learning Based Test was amazing. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in this field.

Tss2017

Ssei17

The Digital Economy’s 2017 Summer School was hosted by CDT in Embedded Intelligence at their London Campus, the trendy, forward thinking area of Here East. The theme for this year was “Innovation insights for the digital workforce of tomorrow” and held over three days, 4th-6th July, focused on three stages; learn with seminars, do with workshops and practise with practicals. A breakdown and more details about the Summer School can be viewed here.

Around 75 students from a wide variety of the DEN CDTs attended including Embedded Intelligence, My Life in Data (Horizon), Cloud Computing, Digital Civics, Intelligent Games & Game Intelligence, Media and Arts Technology, Web Science and HighWire as well as having representation from Cyber Security at Royal Holloway. It was great to see everyone instantly getting along and really immersing themselves in their sessions.

There was such a variety going on from panels, speed networking, playing with Lego (we promise there were learning outcomes from this), producing films (watch the film here), pimping out their social media presence, practising their elevator pitch and creating posters. Everyone definitely left that Summer School with new knowledge and a new skill.

With the Olympic Park at our fingertips, some of the students and staff took advantage of our location and were brave enough to slide down the ArcelorMittal Orbit, and I heard of a few early morning swims in the Olympic pool too. Evening events had great views of London skyline, inventions of new drinks (Glushies, appearing in a bar near you soon) and great entertainment.

You can view the tweets from the Summer School using #SSEI17. Our friends at Tableu (who ran a workshop on “The beautiful science of data visualisation”) have prepared a data analysis on the event’s hashtag, which can be viewed here.

The Digital Economy Network would like to thank EPSRC, Professor Paul Conway, Dr Carmen Torres-Sánchez, the Embedded Intelligence CDT Manager Donna Palmer, DEN Manager Felicia Black, Event support and organisers Siobhan Horan and Finn, Loughborough London for letting us takeover their space plus all their lovely staff and all our panellists, guests and attendees for making it such a memorable and fun Summer School.

We celebrated UK Robotics Week 2017 by hosting a brief history of robots in the movies from silent film to the present day. With over 200 tickets reserved the Cope Auditorium at Loughborough University was full. Presented by film expert and comedian Alan Seaman the talk took us from 1927 ‘Maria’ in Metropolis via 1950s servitude robots such as Forbidden Planets ‘Robby the Robot’ and the murderous androids of1970s Westworld and battling ‘Mechagodzilla’ to the comedic relief of ‘R2D2’ and ‘C3PO’ in Star Wars and, a personal highlight, seeing the 1990s robotic ‘Wrong Trouser’ in Nick Park’s second claymation Wallace and Gromit movie. Of course, a talk about robots in film would not be complete without the Iron Giant and Pixar Wall-E.    

forthe live recording of the talk click here and to listen to the BBC Radio interviews with Alan Seaman and Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez click here

Robots

The NSIRC Annual Conference for 2017 was held over 21 and 22 June at TWI’s state-of-the-art engineering facility on Granta Park in Cambridge. Over 40 students took part in a two day programme of events attended by industry experts from world leading businesses such as BP, Boeing and Rolls Royce and representatives from the NSIRC’s academic partners. 

First year PhD students, including Cohort 2's Athanasios Pouchias, presented their research in poster presentations to industry experts and their peers. Whereas second and third year PhD students gave oral presentations summarising their research topic, reviewing their initial and current research, and discussing plans for future study and work.

The conference also included keynote presentations from Dr Simon Edmonds, Innovate UK Director for Manufacturing and Materials, Professor John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Advisor for BEIS, and Stephen Harris, Science Editor for Conversation UK.

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Congratulations to a team from Loughborough University who have been awarded an EPSRC platform grant to maintain and develop the strength of manufacturing-related UK engineering.  

Over a 5-year period the team will provide a platform for strategic research and impact activities within the embedded integrated intelligent systems (EIIS) domain. All aspects of research for designing and developing products and processes that can demonstrate adaptation and learning will be included. The funding will also support the development of a pipeline of expertise in EIIS for UK industry and academia.

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