press release
Published: 03 April 2019

AI and machine perception centre celebrates 30 years of world-leading research

The research centre responsible for advances in Oscar-winning film production tools, pioneering 3D shape digitisation for animation, ground-breaking facial recognition technology for security and the use of AI to improve healthcare at home for individuals with dementia celebrated its 30th anniversary on Thursday 4 April.


The University of Surrey’s Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) has been at the forefront of the AI and machine perception revolution for over three decades and has the largest research activity in this field in the UK. Having pioneered foundational research in pattern recognition and machine learning in the 1980s, the centre has played a critical role in advancing the disciplines of audio, vision, medical imaging, signal processing and robotics.

On Thursday 4th April, CVSSP celebrated its world-leading research legacy with an event that showcased current research, keynote talks by leading AI experts and a panel discussion on one of the biggest questions of our time - Can Machines Think?  

The evening included demonstrations of revolutionary tools that will allow clinicians to complete medical trials in days rather than years. CVSSP’s Virtual Clinical Trials project, in collaboration with Royal Surrey County Hospital, is developing simulation tools that can generate artificial X-ray images of breast cancer that are indistinguishable from their real-life counterparts. These images will allow experts to study different types of cancers without unnecessary exposure of patients to radiation.

Since the 1990s, CVSSP has been researching ways machine learning can help to keep communities across the world safer; today, it is leading research in facial recognition for security from unconstrained CCTV coverage of public spaces. Recent advances have demonstrated machine face recognition which outperforms human super-recognisers used by the police force. AI driven machine face recognition is learning to reliably recognise people in extreme conditions such as changes in lighting, pose, facial expressions and even identical twins.

CVSSP is driving the thinking around the next wave of autonomous cars by creating a vehicle that not only drives itself, but also thinks safely for itself – thereby making it capable of working in complex and uncertain driving conditions. According to the Department for Transport more than 26,000 people were killed or seriously injured British roads in 2018, making the improvement of safety standards a top priority for the car industry. AI for safe autonomous driving was showcased at the event, alongside demonstrations of current autonomous valet parking research.

Adrian Hilton, Distinguished Professor and Director of CVSSP, said: “At CVSSP, our core mission is to create machines that can see and hear, to understand and interact with the world around them – enabling autonomous systems which can work safely alongside people at home or at work.

“We are delighted to be celebrating 30 years of CVSSP and to have showcased our ground-breaking research that is shaping the future of industries from healthcare and security, to communication and entertainment.”

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