LSBU to develop life-saving robots

Robots built to save lives will be developed by London South Bank University at a new UK centre of excellence

Robots capable of venturing into environments that are potentially deadly for humans are to be developed at a new centre of excellence launched by London South Bank University (LSBU) and TWI. 

Safety critical structures such as nuclear power reactors, offshore oil and gas platforms, or wind turbines require continuous inspection. The majority of these inspections – known as non-destructive testing (NDT) – are carried out manually and expose inspectors to major health and safety risks.

Studies have also shown that manual inspection can miss major defects in safety critical structures due to human error. 

The new London South Bank Innovation Centre (LSBIC) for Automation of NDT will create the next generation of autonomous robotic systems that can carry out inspections with little or no human operator involvement.

The partnership between LSBU and TWI – one of the largest research and technology organisations in Europe – will allow TWI’s 700 industrial member companies access to LSBIC’s research, resulting in a direct route to application.

LSBIC will operate from TWI’s newly constructed 25,000 square meter world-class facilities in a thriving, industrially driven, professional working environment in Cambridge. 

The new innovation centre represents the beginning of a long-term strategic partnership that will, in its first five years of operation, provide a home for 14 researchers and eight TWI-funded PhDs.

Professor David Mba, London South Bank University’s Dean of the School of Engineering and LSBIC board member said: “The UK’s industrial strategy has identified robotics and autonomous systems as one of the eight great technologies in which the UK is set to be a world leader. Therefore this is a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the impact of many years of fundamental research in robotics which London South Bank University has pioneered.”