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Featured research projects

The Department has an extensive portfolio of research projects including collaborations with blue-chip companies, government organisations and other prestigious Universities in the UK and internationally. Substantial funding is provided by industrial sponsors, as well as by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) who supply a significant proportion of our research income.

Our research is recognised worldwide and OUR staff and research students boast an extensive collection of published work, in journals, conference proceedings, books and online.


The UK Government identified robotics and autonomous systems as one of the eight great technologies where the UK can lead the world in research and commercialisation. The global robotics and autonomous systems market has a predicted value of £13bn by 2025 but this is limited by safety. Safety is imperative for autonomous vehicles and home automation.

The RoboCalc project, led by Professor Ana Cavalcanti, is developing a framework for integrated modelling, simulation and programming of mobile and autonomous robots, covering the full life cycle of development. The framework will provide industry and academia with:

  • guidance for developers
  • a pathway to consider certification, since there are no guidelines or standards for robotic software
  • a platform for tool developers to discuss the soundness of their techniques.



Businesses are increasingly adopting open-source software applications to support their day-to-day activities. These businesses face the challenge of choosing an open-source application that fits their needs and has some likelihood of continued support. It is potentially hazardous for an organisation to adopt an open-source application that has no potential for long-term support.

The CrossMiner project focuses on supporting organisations to make better-informed decisions about the healthiness and appropriateness of open-source applications by providing online and offline monitoring of open-source projects.



Cyber-physical systems consist of collections of computing devices which communicate with one another (sometimes using wireless media) and interact with the physical world via sensors and actuators. These systems have many applications – from smart buildings to medical devices to aerospace and many types of automobile.

Most cyber-physical systems are characterised as mixed-criticality, which means they have two or more distinct levels of criticality, such as safety critical or mission critical. Criticality labels signify the level of assurance against failure needed for a system component. Mixed-criticality systems integrate applications or components, or both, with different levels of criticality onto the same hardware platform; they can also integrate systems in the same way. Mixed-criticality has been identified as a key issue for future systems in avionics and automotive applications, and by initiatives such as Horizon2020.

The Mixed Criticality Cyber Physical Systems (MCCps) project investigates how resource efficient and potentially commercially successful cyber-physical systems can be specified, designed and analysed.