Dyson has invested £5 million in a robotics lab at Imperial College London, where it will develop new robotics technology.
The investment will allow Dyson and Imperial College to create a joint robotics lab that will focus on creating a new generation of visually aware robots.
“My generation believed the world would be overrun by robots by the year 2014,” said James Dyson, founder of Dyson. “We now have the mechanical and electronic capabilities, but robots still lack understanding – seeing and thinking in the way that we do. Mastering this will make our lives easier and lead to previously unthinkable technologies.”
This isn’t Imperial College and Dyson’s first robotics venture together though, as the two have been researching together for 15 years previously.
Dyson has worked with Imperial College’s Professor Andrew Davison since 2005, and Davison will now become the Direcot of the Dyson Robotics Laboratory.
“A truly intelligent domestic robot needs to complete complex everyday tasks while adapting to a constantly changing environment,” explained Professor Davison. “We will research and develop systems that allow machines to both understand and perceive their surroundings – using vision to achieve it.”
The 5-year investment, along with £3 million match-funding from alternative sources, will support a 15 scientist strong team including some of Dyson’s own engineers.
Imperial is currently recruiting for the team members, which will include 5 PhD researchers and six post-doctoral researchers.
Dyson launched a prototype robotic vacuum cleaner in 2001 called the Dyson DC06 (above), although it never made it into full production. Sir James Dyson pulled it because he thought it was too heavy and expensive.
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