Published: 21 March 2018

Pushing the boundaries of AI

Surrey is leading the way in the use of AI on the Earth and in space! A new multi-million pound hub to further research in robotics has been announced, headed up by our own Professor Yang Gao, Professor of Space Autonomous Systems. And researchers in the Department of Computer Science are to develop a virtual assistant to improve the daily commute.


Pivotal role in space exploration

The Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIR-SPACE) Hub will lead research to develop robots that repair satellites, assemble large space telescopes, manufacture products in space and remove space debris. The Hub will also look into robots that survey, observe, extract resources, and deploy infrastructure for human arrival and habitations on alien planets.

Other projects include the Hub investigating astronauts’ and robot interoperability aboard the International Space Station and for the future Moon Village mission to establish a lunar colony as the first steps towards exploring Mars.

The University will be working with Imperial College London and the Universities of Edinburgh, Liverpool, Salford and Warwick on the core research programme of the Hub, with a further 28 project partners from industry, research, commercial and governmental organisations. .

Professor Gao said: “This is an incredible opportunity for the University of Surrey and the whole country to play a pivotal role in how humankind explores space, our moon and beyond. We have a very talented team at Surrey and a proud heritage of producing leading research in space science and technology. We believe, with the support of our partners, FAIR-SPACE will be another chapter in this illustrious history.”

Find out more about our space research.

Reducing commuter rage

Commuters dreaming of a stress-free trip to work could soon get their wish thanks to a new AI assistant being created by Surrey researchers.

The University has been awarded £230,000 from Innovate UK to create the ‘Onward Journey Planning Assistant’ (OJPA) – a virtual assistant that learns the needs of its customers and seamlessly offers real-time alternative routes, including on-demand taxi services, in the likely event that a delay to a journey occurs.

Customers will be able to program the OJPA to understand their needs - whether it is the speed of the journey, price or a need to get a seat on a train. The app will use data from customers, together with available information from train providers, which could see the end of commuter rage around the nation’s rail platforms.

Dr Sotiris Moschoyiannis, from the Department of Computer Science, said: “We know that using public transport can be frustrating and we believe this system will make a real and positive impact to the lives of many in this country, giving them real-time information and choice on how they make or complete their journey.

“This is yet another example of why machine learning and explainable decision-making is a positive development and the University of Surrey is at the forefront of research in this field.”

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