New fellowship will put Loughborough at the forefront of future automation

A new £1.6m fellowship will explore the future of automation to help develop better drones, driverless cars and healthcare technology.

Part of the Loughborough Future Transport campaign

Starting in February 2020, the project – led by Professor Wen-Hua Chen, of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering – will analyse and design tools for goal-oriented control systems (GOCS).

The EPSRC Established Career Fellowship aims to transform control engineering and unlock the potential of moving from low levels to high levels of automation.

The real-world applications of such a goal would include autonomous aircraft control systems capable of carrying out forced landings without human intervention.

It would also lead to safer driverless cars, autonomous factories and the next generation of exploratory space rovers.

The five-year fellowship will fund a new Lecturer, two Post-Doc Research Associates and three PhD students.

Prof Chen said: “I am very pleased to be have been awarded this prestigious EPSRC Established Career Fellowship, the first-ever in control engineering.

“This is a testament to the world-leading research activities taking place at Loughborough in the last 15 years, particularly in autonomous vehicles.

“Increased levels of automation would mean better productivity, efficiency, safety and reliability, and create new products and services.

“The fellowship will support me and allow me to develop analysis and design tools for goal-oriented control systems, which is fundamental for enabling the safe and efficient operation of future highly automated systems.

“Currently there is a huge concern about the safety implication of inserting drones and intelligent vehicles in the public environment.

“There are also gaps in knowledge when it comes to supporting elderly people living independently at home with robotic technologies.

“This research aims to provide a level of assurance and support both industry and regulatory bodies to build up safety cases.

“The fellowship will support our effort in establishing a world-leading capability at Loughborough in this emerging and important area for the UK’s highly automated economy.”

Loughborough’s expertise in control systems engineering has led to the creation of improved railway track points, the design of virtual vehicles and multiple projects involving unmanned and autonomous aircraft, cars and drones.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 19/198

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