Exciting new robot factory planned by British firm Dyson
Company best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners to build plant to adapt robots to world around them
Best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, the technical firm Dyson is set to invest £5m in a robotics lab at Imperial College, London. The exciting research conducted there will focus on vision systems that can help robots understand --and adapt to the world around them.
Dyson's prototype robotic vacuum cleaner in 2001, the DC06 nearly made it into production, until Sir James pulled the product claiming it was too heavy and expensive.
Research conducted there will cover domestic robots as well as robotic vacuum cleaners.
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"My generation believed the world would be overrun by robots by the year 2014. We now have the mechanical and electronic capabilities, but robots still lack understanding - seeing and thinking in the way we do," Sir James Dyson said. "Mastering this will make our lives easier and lead to previously unthinkable technologies."
Dyson's prototype robotic vacuum cleaner in 2001, the DC06 nearly made it into production, until Sir James pulled the product claiming it was too heavy and expensive. Since then a number of small robotic vacuum cleaners, such as LG's Hom-Bot and iRobot's Roomba, have come on to the market.
Supplemented by an additional £3m of match-funding from other sources, the five-year investment will pay for 15 scientists, including some of Dyson's own engineers.
Currently head of robot vision at Imperial's department of computing, Davidson is an expert in Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) systems using a single camera.
"A truly intelligent domestic robot needs to complete complex everyday tasks while adapting to a constantly changing environment," Davidson says.
"We will research and develop systems that allow machines to both understand and perceive their surroundings - using vision to achieve it."
Dyson announced a £250m investment in January to double the size of its research center in Wiltshire and hire 3,000 more engineers. Dyson says it has "drawn up a blueprint" for the largest expansion in its 20-year history.
The plans include a new technology research and development campus but are still subject to planning permission.
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