- Opens: Monday 17 April 2023
- Deadline: Wednesday 1 November 2023
- Number of places: 1
- Duration: 3 years
- Funding: Home fee, Equipment costs, Travel costs, Stipend
OverviewWe aim to determine an appropriate AI technology to allow a mobile robotic system to move based on vision and other sensory inputs and support the acquisition of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) data (typically ultrasonic). This would include methods for autonomous movement with obstacle avoidance and path planning for NDT complex structures.
You must have a first or upper-second degree in a relevant engineering-related discipline with experience/interest in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Quality assurance during manufacture, combined with asset monitoring through service life, can together help to extract maximum useful life (whilst maintaining safety margins) from major engineering components used for example, in aircraft, sea-going vessels and renewable energy structures. The role of NDT (non-destructive testing) is central to such quality assurance, with NDT now being routinely built into the digital-twin approaches to lifecycle engineering employed in industry 4.0 manufacturing using advanced robotics.
The broad aim of the research project is to determine an appropriate AI technology to allow a mobile robotic system to move based on vision and other sensory inputs and support the acquisition of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) data (typically ultrasonic). This would include methods for autonomous movement with obstacle avoidance and path planning for NDT complex structures.
The objectives of this project will be:
- to develop novel robot base manoeuvrability and control that is programmatically compatible with the control of industry-standard collaborative robot arms
- to investigate the role of AI-based processing for scene recognition to enable efficient NDT path creation on unknown geometries, whilst maintaining collision-free operation in cluttered environments
- to use online machine learning-based data interpretation for the NDT measurements, thus allowing for in-process compensation/ re-measurement
This studentship will provide the student with transferable skills, from programming industrial robotic systems, and modelling robot kinematics to practical NDT measurements for commercial customers of TWI. This studentship is through a long-standing collaboration between Strathclyde University and TWI Ltd.
The student will participate in Post Graduate Research development courses related to Writing and Presenting Research, Writing with Confidence, and Engaging in Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research at the University. The student will also benefit from the comprehensive courses offered by CDT FUSE and CDT FIND and a wide range of industry networking, training and development provided by these centres. The industrial placement at TWI will provide the student with excellent industrial exposure, and a more commercial focus for the impacts of their research. The student will be supported and mentored and encouraged to disseminate research findings to the wider public via high-impact factor journal articles and international conferences.
The student will benefit from the state-of-the-art robotic measurement, and NDT equipment (and established team to show them how to use the kit) available through the £29M SEARCH facility at the University. At TWI, there is a range of automation and NDT equipment together with trained personnel available to support the student to work with industrial automation at scale and including collaborative and hybrid robotic systems, machine vision and metrology instrumentation.
The PhD programme will be split between training at Strathclyde University in Glasgow and TWI Wales’ Port Talbot facility in South Wales.