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New EPSRC grant on Robust Integrated Verification of Autonomous Systems

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27 February 2012

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Under the recent Autonomous Intelligent Systems call the Engineering and
Physical Sciences Research Council are awarding £800K towards a £1.1M research
project on "RIVERAS: Robust Integrated Verification of Autonomous Systems".

RIVERAS aims to develop techniques and methodologies that can be used to design
autonomous intelligent systems that are verifiably trustworthy. This enables
engineers to ensure that the strict safety requirement necessary for such
systems are met, allowing for a more rapid route to market while at the same
time building customer confidence. Target application areas include safety
critical systems such as robotic inspections of a nuclear power plant and space
explorations e.g. on Mars by a rover or a robotic aircraft, but also the next
generation of clever consumer products with embedded intelligence and
adaptability e.g. toys, gadgets and household appliances.

The multi-disciplinary research team from the Faculty of Engineering is led by
Dr Kerstin Eder, Computer Science, who is an expert in Design Verification -
the core focus of the research programme. The team includes Dr Arthur Richards
from Aerospace Engineering who is an expert in optimization and control for
vehicle planning and decision making, and two experts in modelling vagueness
and uncertainty in intelligent systems and formal specifications, Prof Jonathan
Lawry and Prof Trevor Martin from Engineering Mathematics / Intelligent Systems
Laboratory. The team members are also part of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory
which is the largest robotics facility of its kind in the UK with an
international reputation for excellence in autonomous systems. This will
provide an ideal facility for running case study experiments in robotic systems
as an integral part of the RIVERAS project.

The RIVERAS project is due to start in September 2012 and provides funding for 5