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Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:05

Course Overview

Mobile robots can be used in a range of applications, including warehouses, agriculture, and other real-world environments. One of the main challenges for robots operating in the real world is that this is an unstructured environment. Nature has found clever solutions for the design of intelligent and effective systems operating in the unstructured environment hence biology is an obvious source of inspiration for robotics. In this course we take inspiration from nature to engineer intelligent systems for real-world applications as, for example, locomotion.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr M. Elena Giannaccini

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Any Postgraduate Programme or Master of Engineering in Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • One of Master Of Science In Biomedical Engineering or Master Of Science In Industrial Robotics or Master of Engineering in Electrical & Electronic Engineering

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course focuses on the foundations of mobile robots and bioinspiration. In the first part, the course covers topics such as actuation, perception, localisation and mapping. It also features algorithms that enable the motion control and coordination of multi-robot systems. The course will include practical sessions with hands-on robot programming using a differential robot car platform. The students will also work with a simulation environment.

The second part of the course introduces bioinspiration as a method to tackle the challenges of real world, unstructured environments. The aims of this part of the course are: i) Explain the benefits and limitations of bio-inspired approaches for robotic applications; ii) Extract basic principles from intelligent systems in nature that can be applied to mobile robotics; iii) Using bioinspiration, embodied intelligence and self-organisation as driving forces towards a successful implementation of robotics in unstructured environments.

Main topics

  • Introduction to robots
  • Mobile robotics and control
  • Control architectures
  • Sensors, perception and actuators
  • Biologically inspired robotic systems
  • Bioinspired locomotion
  • Swarm robotics
  • Soft robotics

Course content

  1. Introduction to robotics, definitions, history of robotics
  2. Robot motion and control.Kinematics of differential and other systems, control models
  3. Control architectures, perception-action, finite state machines, subsumption architecture.
  4. Sensors, calibration, perception and actuators
  5. Introduction to localisation, mapping and navigation
  6. Definition of bioinspired and biomimetic robot systems
  7. Embodied intelligence, self-organisation
  8. Bioinspired locomotion
  9. Swarm intelligence, kilobots, bioinspired swarm robotics and multi-robot systems algorithms
  10. Soft robotics

Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Practical during University weeks 12, 13, 14
  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 9 - 19
  • 1 Tutorial during University weeks 9 - 19

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

First Attempt

1x Homework Exercise (30%)
1x Individual Design Project (70%)

Alternative Resit Arrangements

Resit of only the failed assessment component(s)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualApplyApply notions of control architectures, perception and actuation to control robot systems.
ProceduralApplyPerform simple localisation and navigation with real or stimulated robot systems.
ConceptualEvaluateDiscuss the impact of bioinspiration, embodied intelligence, self-organisation on robot systems.
ConceptualEvaluateAssess the benefits and limitations of bioinspired locomotion, swarm intelligence, soft robotics.
ProceduralCreateImplement bioinspired swarm robotics and multi-robot systems algorithms.

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