My research project

My qualifications

MMath Mathematics (First Class)
University of Exeter

Affiliations and memberships

The British Machine Vision Association (BMVA)
Student Member


Allday R, Hadfield S, Bowden R (2017) From Vision to Grasping: Adapting Visual Networks, TAROS-2017 Conference Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 10454 pp. 484-494
Grasping is one of the oldest problems in robotics and is still considered challenging, especially when grasping unknown objects with unknown 3D shape. We focus on exploiting recent advances in computer vision recognition systems. Object classification problems tend to have much larger datasets to train from and have far fewer practical constraints around the size of the model and speed to train. In this paper we will investigate how to adapt Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), traditionally used for image classification, for planar robotic grasping. We consider the differences in the problems and how a network can be adjusted to account for this. Positional information is far more important to robotics than generic image classification tasks, where max pooling layers are used to improve translation invariance. By using a more appropriate network structure we are able to obtain improved accuracy while simultaneously improving run times and reducing memory consumption by reducing model size by up to 69%.
Allday R, Hadfield S, Bowden R (2019) Auto-Perceptive Reinforcement Learning (APRiL), Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on the Applications of Knowledge Representation and Semantic Technologies in Robotics (AnSWeR19) co-located with International Conference on the Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2019) pp. 103-112
The relationship between the feedback given in Reinforcement Learning (RL) and visual data input is often extremely complex. Given this, expecting a single system trained end-to-end to learn both how to perceive and interact with its environment is unrealistic for complex domains. In this paper we propose Auto-Perceptive Reinforcement Learning (APRiL), separating the perception and the control elements of the task. This method uses an auto-perceptive network to encode a feature space. The feature space may explicitly encode available knowledge from the semantically understood state space but the network is also free to encode unanticipated auxiliary data. By decoupling visual perception from the RL process, APRiL can make use of techniques shown to improve performance and efficiency of RL training, which are often difficult to apply directly with a visual input. We present results showing that APRiL is effective in tasks where the semantically understood state space is known. We also demonstrate that allowing the feature space to learn auxiliary information, allows it to use the visual perception system to improve performance by approximately 30%. We also show that maintaining some level of semantics in the encoded state, which can then make use of state-of-the art RL techniques, saves around 75% of the time that would be used to collect simulation examples.