Improving robotic teleoperation through human-robot interaction and robotic autonomy

4 year fully funded interdisciplinary PhD studentships in human-robot interaction

Theme 2: Improving robotic teleoperation through human-robot interaction and robotic autonomy

Application deadline: Applications are now closed
Interview Day:  early-mid June 2022 (to be confirmed)
Start Date: 26th September 2022

Potential industry partner: National Nuclear Laboratory (https://www.nnl.co.uk/)

We are seeking an outstanding candidate to undertake an interdisciplinary PhD studentship in human-robot interaction commencing September 2022You should have a background in Computer Science, Human Factors, Engineering, Psychology or similar, with an excellent first degree and an enthusiasm for transdisciplinary research and robotics.

The student will use commercial robots and develop software to implement (semi-)autonomous robotic behaviours. This PhD project will require working with real robots interacting with real humans in challenging environments. Hence the student must have experience with programming (machine learning and robotics knowledge is desirable) and a strong interest in conducting user studies.

An annual tax-free stipend for the 4 years, starting at £18,069 will be paid.

* Please note there is a very limited number of places for international students across all 2022 themes.

About the theme

Teleoperation is a common solution for nuclear (remote hazardous object handling) medical (robot assisted surgery) as well as social robotics (e.g. systems deployed in people’s homes, hospitals, or other care settings).  The ability of robots to fully autonomously handle complex scenes involving dense clutters or a heap of unknown objects has been very limited due to challenges in scene understanding, grasping, and decision making. In this theme, the student will investigate semi-autonomous approaches where a human operator can interact with the system (e.g. using tele-operation but not only) and giving high-level commands to complement the autonomous skill execution. The work will involve improving autonomous robotic manipulation abilities through learning from humans, as well as exploring, designing and evaluating new interaction modalities and interfaces for the force-feedback teleoperation of a robot with semi-autonomous capabilities. The candidate will work with research grade robotic teleoperation systems from the University of Nottingham’s Cobot Maker Space, including the Franka Emika Panda arms and Haption Virtuose haptic device.

The PhD studentship will explore best strategies for i) helping the operators understand the automatic capabilities of the robot relevant for the current activity, ii) splitting the control responsibilities between the robot and the operator, and iii) control switching within a spectrum of fully manual and fully-autonomous modes.

How to apply

For more information about the application process, including eligibility and selection criteria and the documentation you need to provide please see  How to Apply.


 

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The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Horizon: Creating our Lives in Data is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grant reference EP/S023305/1.