Communication, sensing and control

Research highlights

Research highlights include:

Mobility Diversity Algorithms

There are many applications in which a mobile robot, with limited energy resources, must perform tasks and then transmit data back to a base station. However, the robot will often experience small-scale fading of the wireless communication channel, and so it must seek a position (that has a high wireless channel gain – thus minimising the amount of energy needed to send the data. This will also deplete the robots stored energy resources through the mechanical energy expended in the process of searching for the best location to transmit from.

Our research involves developing mathematical algorithms based on “mobility diversity” that optimise the robot’s trajectory so as to minimise the overall energy (mechanical plus electrical) consumption. A demonstrator test bed using the iRobot Create platform is being developed to apply these techniques along with intelligent radio frequency energy harvesting.

Drone Empowered Small Cellular Networks

Communication networks are critical for any recovery operation. They play a vital role in the detection/localisation of survivors and the coordination of rescue activities. Natural phenomena such as earthquakes or flooding can result in either the destruction of the communication hardware or disruption of energy supply to the base stations. In such cases, there is a dire need for a mechanism through which capacity short-fall can be met in a rapid manner.

Drone empowered small cellular networks (DSCNs) or so-called flying cellular networks present an attractive solution as they can be swiftly deployed for provisioning public safety networks.

Our research group is conducting both experimental and theoretical research in this area to enable future drone base station deployments.

Self-organization for IoT

The future IoT networks will be dense, and heterogeneous management of such networks is quite a significant overhead for operators. Self-organization solutions will enable future IoT networks to self-repair, self-heal and self-manage. This is the central theme of our research activities currently.

Some of the research conducted in this area is funded by the EPSRC Prosperities Outcome Framework Institutional Support Grant.

Simultaneous Wireless InFormation and energy Transfer (SWIFT)

An EPSRC funded project on enabling simultaneous communication and RF energy harvesting for mobile robots. The project is led by Professor Ian Robertson at Leeds who is actively engaged in design and development of new microwave and high frequency electronic circuits for wireless power transfer.

Smart Cities

In this theme, the group is engaged in the EPSRC funded project “Balancing the impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural systems using Robots” where we are actively contributing to the design of microwave solution for UAV sense and avoid functionalities.

We are also part of the HowDrive Project funded by the Moroccan Government where we our key contributions are to implement large scale sensing and monitoring solutions for quantifying road safety measures and driver behaviour in Morocco.

In addition, we are working on state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms for prediction of optimal policing schedule for improving road safety.

We have two active projects with Mexico and Chille funded via the Newton Fund. The project with Mexico is geared towards smart meter design and implementation for water quality monitoring, whilst with Chille the project is geared towards exploring structural health of tunnels using wireless sensor networks.

Dr. Andrew Kemp has joined forces with ADI in the area of IoT. ADI has been recently selected by Digital Catapult as one of the six partners to build experimentation testbeds for businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK to develop IoT products and services.