A centre for cutting-edge technologies, from robots and automated vehicles to virtual reality, artificial intelligence and cyber-physical systems, is to be opened at Cardiff University as a result of a major investment of European funding.
The brand-new centre for Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Human-Machine Systems (IROHMS) will position Cardiff and South Wales as a hub for emerging and innovative technologies.
The interdisciplinary centre will build on the internationally excellent research expertise at Cardiff University’s Schools of Engineering, Computer Science and Informatics, and Psychology and the long-standing experience of leading large-scale research programmes in these areas.
Previous high-profile research projects have included the development of semi-autonomous robots to support elderly people at home, a portable early-detection and treatment device for traumatic brain injury as well as human interactions and usability of autonomous vehicles.
IROHMS will focus its research on many sectors of strategic importance for Wales, including high-value digital manufacturing, wireless factory machinery, aerospace, autonomous vehicles, and the societal challenges facing healthcare and assisted living.
The £3.5m centre, which has received £1.8m of EU funds through Welsh Government, will ensure that the next generation of transformative research discoveries are made in Cardiff with the help of some of the brightest minds in the field.
The funds will also help to strengthen the critical mass in artificial intelligence and robotics that currently exists across South Wales, fostering new collaborations with industry experts and increasing investment across the area.
Indeed, IROHMS has received over 40 letters of support from industry, public sector and higher education, with many expressing an interest in collaborative R&D, networking and events, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, guest lectures, peer reviewing, and mentoring.
State-of-the-art facilities at Cardiff University will also be enhanced, with the further development of a robotics lab, motion capture lab, Internet of Things lab and many other investments.
Professor Rossi Setchi, Lead Principal Investigator of IROHMS, said: “This new centre draws on a vision of the world that is human-centric, interactive, interconnected, data-rich, knowledge-intensive and smart.
“By bringing together our collective expertise under one banner, we will maximise our research expertise and drive forward innovations that tackle some of the most pressing societal challenges.
“Our aim is to make South Wales an area of excellence in AI, Robotics and Human-Machine Systems, that is known across the world, attracting further investments and the very best research expertise.”
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters said: “As a government, we want to see Wales at the very forefront of data driven innovation. This impressive Centre will directly target new opportunities emerging in the Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Human Machine Systems industry and improve our ever growing national and international reputation in the field.
“I am delighted to officially open this facility, supported by £1.8 million of EU funds, which will bring added collaboration with businesses and other institutions and strengthen the global impact Wales is already having in the sector.”