The Centre for Embedded Intelligence at Loughborough university was proud to play host to the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UKRAS) Network’s annual conference.


The UKRAS19 Conference on Embedded Intelligence UK took place on Thursday the 24th of January and the conference attracted over 130 delegates on the day. The programme included four plenary speakers; Dr Slava Chesnokov, Senior Technical Director, Media Imaging, ARM, “ARM computational platforms for CV/Image Processing for future Robots: NN accelerator vs. fixed NN HW”; Prof. Tom Duckett, Professor of Robotics & Autonomous Systems Director, Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (L-CAS) “The Future of Robotic Agriculture”; Dr. Séverin Lemaignan, Senior Research FellowBristol Robotics Laboratory, “Robots for education: from social to non-social, a look at the challenges of tomorrow”; and Prof. Barry Lennox, Professor of Applied Control School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering /Dalton Nuclear InstituteFaculty of Science and Engineering, “Development of Robotic Systems for Nuclear Applications”.

The event was attended by many of the CDT-EI students including Hazel Carlin and Jenny Lantair from Cohort 5.


We asked Hazel Carlin to share what she felt were the highlights of the day:

One of the most interesting talks was on reading the emotions of children based on stick models. This is a first step towards robots judging the mood of their co-workers in order that the robot can vary the speed of its actions. As well as numerous interesting talks, there were also many posters on display and we also had the chance to visit the Intelligent Automation Centre in Holywell Park. The day was valuable for finding out what the current state of research is in Robotics and AI.

Ukras Conference 1

Jenny Lantair shared her experiences of the day:

Attending UKRAS19 at Loughborough University this year was an eye opening experience, not just through touring the amazing facilities available to robotics researchers at the university, nor hearing the oratory skills of many of the presenters, being able to craft an exciting narrative, captivating an audience, but it was the people who stole my heart at the conference this year. Such an international group of researchers, across a diverse set of disciplines, all at different stages in their careers, some like Yang Zhou who is in their first few months of a PhD and others like Prof. Barry Lennox who is world renowned for his development of robotics to assist with nuclear decommissioning. These people should have little in common, yet over the day the passion for their research, the belief that what they are doing will make the world a better place in however small a way shone through. Research from Dr Severin Lemaignan would see our children educated with the assistance of robots, Prof. Tom Duckett will ensure a future food supply whilst teams at Loughborough are not simply solving the crisis of labour in the welding industry, their robotic arms can weld better, faster providing us with safer products.

The day provided inspiration to me; to achieve more, to present there next year and to never lose that passionate belief that what we are researching today will affect all of our tomorrows.

 For more information about the event please visit the UK RAS website

https://www.ukras.org/news/ukras19-conference-on-embedded-intelligence

Our cohort 3 student, Matthew Hammond attend the LNG Metrology workshop in October.

The LNG Metrology programme is part of the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) with the goal of improving techniques and reducing uncertainty in measurements of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). A workshop and seminar are held every two years to bring together project partners and other interested companies to share information and recent developments in different areas of the project. The Metrology for LNG project is now in its 8th year and entering the third and final stage of funding.

On the first day of the workshop, presentations were given on the various aspects of the project including flow metering, composition measurements, density measurements, and new sensor technologies. On the second day, training sessions were provided for the different technical areas to give attendees the chance to learn more about the fundamentals of each measurement and how they are typically made.

Matthew commented:

Part of my research is dedicated to improving the measurements of LNG, particularly composition and density, so much of this workshop was relevant and interesting to me. One of the difficulties in developing new technologies for measurement is that primary standards are required in order to test, calibrate and validate instruments. My co-sponsor, EffecTech, are leading the way in providing Primary Reference cryogenic liquid mixtures with very low uncertainties in amount fraction to calibrate new LNG composition devices, for example Raman spectrometers.

CertificateCohort 3 student Gergely Hantos took part in the Cambridge Spark Applied Data Science Bootcamp.

Gergely, who is based at Heriot-Watt and supervised by Prof. Marc Desmulliez, took part in the 6-months Cambridge Spark Applied Data Science Bootcamp. The course gave an excellent knowledge of the most relevant Data Science skills matching industry needs.

Each student had to carry out a one-month real-life project backed by industry partners that covered problem understanding, data cleaning and feature engineering, visualisation, model selection, training, evaluation and optimisation.

Gergely worked on a project for Entomics, a biological waste valorisation company that transforms organic waste into high value agricultural products using insect larvae as a unique bioconversion engine. The objective was to create a predictive machine learning model that optimizes the bioconversion by predicting the daily waste intake of the larvae.

Gergely delivered a solution that worked with so little prediction error that Entomics was able to use the output immediately. The outcome of this project has opened up a specialised software engineer position at Entomics.Presentation

A conference paper based on the work achieved was delivered for the First Symposium on Smart Systems Integration (SS1S) by Gergely on the 31st of August 2018 in Balatonvilágos, Hungary and is currently under review for publication in Periodica Polytechnica Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Cambridge Spark, the company delivering the course was also impressed by the work, thus they wrote a blog article about the project available here: Project Partner Case Study: Entomics that includes a video interview with Fotis Fotiadis, Co-Founder and CTO of Entomics.

Powertrain And Control PresentationOur Cohort 2 student, Gajarajan Sivayogan, presented at the Powertrain Modelling and Control Conference.

Powertrain Modelling and Control Conference is a biannual conference that is hosted by Loughborough University. Specifically the joint efforts of the Automotive and Dynamic Research groups. It hosts numerous automotive driven companies from around the world to show case their latest research and discuss future prospects on the automotive industry. It also gives opportunity for automotive related projects to present their findings in front of industry and academic experts. This allows future collaborations and understanding on the latest research being developed globally. This year’s conference showed increased interest in power control systems and fuel cells. With new technologies driving towards alternative fuels.

CDT-EI candidate Gajarajan Sivayogan presented his research work on ‘Prediction of Friction in EHL Contacts for Drivetrain Applications.’ He showed that the real entrainment velocity within a lubricated tribological contact under high loads can have a significant influence and hence a more realistic inclusion of this in the predictive models may lead to a better and more truthful evaluation of frictional and power losses in certain drivetrain applications.

Our cohort 4 student, Stephen Ward, recently attended the International Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference.Venue 1

The 40th International Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference was held in Honolulu, Hawaii from July 17-21, 2018. The theme of this year’s conference was “Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future”. The conference covered a range of diverse topics including cutting-edge research and innovation in biomedical engineering, healthcare technology R&D, translational clinical research, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, and biomedical engineering education.

Stephen gave us a summary of the conference:

During the conference I attended the “Engineering and Medicine in Extreme Environments Workshop”. The workshop presented world-leading experts in varying research fields ranging from engineering and medicine in diving, space, tactical forces and other extreme environments. Many themes were discussed with the overall aim to enhance human comfort, performance and survival in extreme environments. This workshop was particularly relevant to my research area, and provided an excellent opportunity to increase my awareness of the work being completed by other researchers, as well as providing great opportunity for networking.

In addition to partaking in the workshop I also attended a range of interesting and informative presentations and mini-symposia as part of the main conference proceedings. The thought provoking topics helped identify some further areas of interest which will be useful in my own research.

 

Shaun Smith of cohort 4 recently spoke at Dynamics Days Europe 2018. Dynamics Days Europe is a series of major international conferences that provides a forum for developments in the interdisciplinary research of nonlinear science. The conference is hosted in different locations in Europe each year, and this year Loughborough University welcomed delegates in fields including physics, engineering, biology and mathematics to discuss their research.

Shaun contributed a talk on how numerical continuation can be applied to complement engine calibration. He provides a brief overview of the talk and his experience at the conference:

"My talk was centred on how tools from nonlinear dynamics could be applied to complement the process of “engine mapping". Engine mapping is the process used by manufacturers to understand the behaviour of a system by relating inputs (e.g. throttle & torque) to outputs (e.g. speed & air pressure) by running desktop simulations at almost every possible combination of inputs. For larger systems with multiple inputs and outputs, this process quickly becomes very computationally expensive, so my supervisors and I have been working on an alternative approach to this process which combines tools from nonlinear science and numerical continuation. As well as offering an efficient overview of the system, we show additional benefits these tools can offer by providing insight about the dynamic behaviour of the system that would be very difficult to obtain through engine mapping alone.”

“Having joined the CDT almost exactly a year ago, Dynamics Days Europe 2018 provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the research undertaken in my first year. Presenting our approach to researchers in the field of nonlinear science, viewing talks on a variety of different topics and discussing the innovation of nonlinear dynamics with delegates were valuable experiences for me, and I look forward to attending future conferences on nonlinear science."

Dynamics Days Europe 2019 will be in Rostock, Germany September 2-6, 2019

For more information on Dynamics Days, please visit http://www.dynamicsdays.org

For details of the 2018 conference, see http://dynamicsday2018.lboro.ac.uk/index.html

Cohort 4 researcher,Temi Jegede, attended the 'High Performance Powertrains' Seminar hosted by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers which took place on the 22nd of May in Birmingham. 

We asked Temi to give a summary of the proceedings.

The chairperson, Professor Jamie Turner from the University of Bath began setting the scene by summarizing the aim of the seminar which was to highlight promising technologies that better optimize the performance of automotive powertrains. This was followed by the introduction of speakers from companies such as Ford, Mahle, Cosworth, AVL amongst many others.

Paul Freeland, a principal engineer at Cosworth spoke on the techniques employed by Cosworth to maintain the highest possible specific power output while minimising fuel consumption. Higher specific output in this case relates to increased engine speed and increased cylinder air charge which directly proportional to the amount of torque the engine can produce. With regards to fuel efficiency improvements, Cosworth have implemented techniques to maximise compression ratio while minimising frictional, pumping and heat losses. Some of these include dual cam phasing, upvalve systems, which help to reduce pumping losses, Variable displacement oil pump, roller-element valve actuation, Plasma-Sprayed Cylinder Bores which help to reduce frictional losses. Most of the benefit was made due to cylinder deactivation. This involves the temporary deactivation of one or more engine cylinders in light load operational regions. All of this together leads thermal efficiencies greater than 30% in more than 80% of the operating space of the engine.

Speakers from both Ford and JLR described approaches that were similar to those taken by Cosworth with minor differences.

It was also interesting to see the use of software simulation to reduce engine development time, Massimo Gallbati, a project manager at Enginsoft was called up to discuss the use of virtual prototyping in engine development. He discussed the use of Enginsoft’s computational fluid dynamic software which is useful for building a virtual prototype of the combustion process which can in turn provide detailed predictions of emissions, cooling system amongst many other engine subsystems. This is possible because the software allows for very detailed modelling of liquid behaviour. Gaseous fluids are not supported as there is difficulty in modelling the behaviour of an unknown mixture of gases. Research will have to be done in this area to advance this concept.

Several talks were also given on emissions and how tightening regulations are currently affecting trends in powertrain development. Hartwig Busch from the Coventry University Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (FEV) was introduced to discuss some of the challenges emissions regulations pose. More focus is being given to CO emissions as it is being monitored under the EU6d regulations. The trend suggests that CO limits will become more stringent and replace PN emissions as the major emission challenge. The aftertreatment available on production vehicles can curtail the emissions to desired levels but this method is only effective with full combustion cycles at stoichiometry and significant degradation in performance has been observed when the AFR (lambda) is outside stoichiometry. A major factor in this problem is driver behaviour, as more aggressive drivers tend to make quick changes to engine speed and torque which increases the emissions. FEV is using virtualization of calibration to tackle emissions regulations. This involves the use of concepts like Hardware in Loop simulations, road virtualization and driver behaviour modelling. Other strategies are also employed with the goal of keeping lambda at 1 such as water injection and variable compression ratio.

Overall, this seminar offered informative insight into trends in powertrain development and highlighted the commitment of many auto manufacturers to the improvement of the internal combustion engine and powertrain as we are still decades away from full electrification.

Finally the chair and speakers held a Q/A session before giving their closing remarks.

Our cohort 2 researcher Athanasios Pouchias attend the Flow Processes on Composite Materials conference in Luleå Sweden from 30th May - 1st June 2018.

The conference was arranged by the Luleå University of Technology and Swerea SICOMP AB. It took place in June 2018 in the small and beautiful northern city of Luleå, Sweden. FPCM 14 is part of a series of conferences covering the science and engineering of composites manufacturing. It provides a forum for scientists, engineers and designers from both academia and industry to exchange ideas, propose new solutions and promote international collaboration. Also, the conference covered topics from the challenges of graphene as a reinforcement to large-scale processing for composites with complex structures.

 

Fpcm 14

 We asked Athanasios to write about his experience at the conference:

 

“During the conference, I had the opportunity to present the work I had carried out during the first two years of my PhD studies. My research focuses on monitoring the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process which is one of the most promising available technologies for manufacturing large complex three-dimensional parts from composite materials. The RTM process is mostly used in aeronautical, automotive and wind energy applications, such as the manufacturing of wind turbine blades. In this conference, I presented the design methodology for the development of a flow sensor which will be placed to monitor the RTM process.”The main interest of this FPCM conference was the determination of porosity and the characterisation of the permeability of fabrics. A special workshop on the permeability measurements was held during the second day where there was an open discussion on the current technologies and measuring methods for calculating the permeability of composite materials.

The second day finished with an excursion to the Northern Arctic Circle. The Northern Arctic Circle is the ultimate place - from the North Pole - where the sun does not go down at summer solstice and does not go up at the winter solstice."

 

Arctic Circle

 

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