Alan FT Winfield
Associate Dean, UWE, Bristol
Abstract - "Walking with Robots: a new kind of engagement between
humans and robots"
For many intelligent robots are compelling and engaging,
especially young people. Perhaps for some, robots are threatening.
In this talk I will introduce and illustrate the ESPRC Walking with
Robots* programme, the aim of which is to create a new kind of
engagement between humans and robots. Drawing upon the extraordinary
range of intelligent robotics research in the UK, from space
exploration to artificial consciousness, Walking with Robots will
explore robot ethics as well as robot technology; robot philosophy
and robots in the arts. As robots become increasingly intelligent we
will interact with them in new and quite probably surprising ways. I
will explore some of those possible interactions, and their
implications for human and robotkind.
In 1984, shortly after completing a PhD in
Digital Communications, Winfield resigned his lectureship at the
University of Hull to found a company on the then newly established
Hull University Science Park. Created to commercialise patented
research in high performance computer architectures, the company
also found itself delivering contract research and development in
software for safety-critical
communication systems, primarily for the public safety sector.
Winfield went on to establish the company APD Communications
Limited, as one of the key UK providers of software for mobile radio
data system, notably leading contracts to design a fault-tolerant
radio communications infrastructure for the Channel Tunnel.
He left the company in 1992 to take up appointment
as Associate Dean (Research) and Hewlett-Packard Professor of
Electronic Engineering at the University of the West of
England, Bristol, but remains a non-executive director of APD.
Winfield is a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of
Electrical Engineers, the IEEE and the Institute of Directors.
Moving into the field of mobile robotics he
co-founded, with Chris Melhuish and Owen Holland, the Intelligent
Autonomous Systems (IAS) Laboratory* at the University of the West
of England in 1993. Within the IAS laboratory, Winfield’s projects
have included intelligent control, in particular stable adaptive
neural control and more recently,
provably-stable behaviour based control. With Owen Holland and Ian
Horsfield, Winfield designed the IAS lab LinuxBots, contributing the
embedded Linux based control and wireless communications
architecture. Winfield’s current work is focused on the engineering
and scientific applications of Swarm Intelligence. His work on Swarm
Robotics is concerned with algorithms, analysis, modeling and
specification for potential high integrity applications. At the same
time, Winfield is interested in Swarm Robotics as a constructionist
metaphor for the study of emergence, self-organisation and
*Now relaunched as the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (www.brl.ac.uk)