Professor Hongnian Yu is Director of Smart Technology Researcher Centre and Head of Research in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Edinburgh Napier University. He has successfully supervised over 20 PhD theses and over 20 Master by Research theses, and has examined over 30 PhD/MPhil students’ theses as both internal and external examiner. He has trained 12 post-doctoral research fellows. He has published over 300 journal and conference research papers. He has held several research grants worth about ten million pounds from the UK EPSRC, the Royal Society, and the European, AWM, as well as from industry. He has managed several international large consortiums as a coordinator. Examples are 1) coordinator (PI) of an EPSRC funded ?158K international network project on Human Adaptive Mechatronics which includes 7 Japanese partners and 7 UK partners; 2) coordinator of the EU funded 3.05 million Euro Erasmus Mundus FUSION project which has 20 international partners; 3) coordinator of the EU funded one million Euro Marie Curie SMOOTH project, etc. Prof Yu has strong research collaboration with partners from over 30 countries, such as China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Romania, Thailand, and UK. He was awarded the F.C. William Premium for his paper on adaptive and robust control of robot manipulators by the IEE Council, and has received two best conference paper awards, seven best (student) conference paper awards with his research students. He has won the Gold Medal on The World Exhibition on Inventions, Research and New Technologies, INNOVA 2009, Brussels, and International Exhibition of Inventions, Geneva, Switzerland, 2010, for invention “Method and device for driving mobile inertial robots”; and the 43rd International Exhibition of inventions, New Techniques and Products, in Geneva, 2015. He is serving on 3 editorial boards and has served on numerous international conference organization committees, e.g. IPC co-chair of the UKACC, Cardiff, 3-5/09/2012; General Chair of the International Conference on SKIMA, China, 9-11/09/2012; 15-17/12/2016; General co-chair of the International Conference on Advanced Mechatronic Systems, China, 25-27/09/2013; Japan 10-12/08/2014; China 22-24/08/2015 etc. He is a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Senior Member of IEEE.
As the fast development of Artificial Intelligence and robotics, robots are not only applied in the manufacturing factories, but also are gradually applied in medical and service industry and search and rescue tasks in the emergency environment. On the other hand, urbanisation and changes in modern infrastructure have introduced new challenges to firefighting practices. The current manual operations and training including fire investigation, hazardous chemicals detection, fire and rescue are insufficient to protect the firefighter’s safety and life. The firefighting and rescue functions of the existing equipment and apparatus and their dexterity are limited, particularly in the harsh firefighting environments. The existing firefighting robots are facing the following challenges: 1) cannot enter the fire field to perform tasks; and 2) cannot provide real-time information support of the fire field.
This talk will first introduce the history of robotics and its classifications. In particular HAM (Human Adaptive Mechatronics) concept developed from one of my network projects is introduced and discussed. Then the challenges and future researches of robotics in disaster rescues (in particular fire-fighting) are revealed. It will address the part of the above challenges and will provide a review on the robot-assisted systems with interdisciplinary perspectives to identify the needs, requirements, challenges as well as future trends to facilitate smart and efficient operations. We will consider information acquisition (sensing and visioning technology), transmission (ultra-remote signal transmission) and processing (multi-sensor fusion technology), instrumentation (actuating technology, robotics thermal protection technology), control (multi-degree of freedom mobile and operating robot control methods, obstacle avoidance and sweeping, Decision Support Systems (DSS)) and communication (Human-Robot (H2R) interaction systems, Machine-to-Machine (M2M)). This talk will also introduce the basic requirements to design and develop a hybrid mobile robot and report the recent progress conducted by the EU funded SMOOTH project. Subsequently, prevailing firefighting robotic platforms in literature as well as in practices are elaborately scrutinized and discussed, followed by investigation of localization and navigation support methods.