Key elements: Software development + access to primary research + long-term partnership
Dyson and Imperial College London produce the next generation of robots
Dyson has had a keen interest in robotics since 2001, with their prototype robotic vacuum cleaner - DC06 - nearly making it into production. But it was pulled at the last minute. At the same time, Professor Andrew Davison was pioneering research in visual SLAM, and from 2005 was leading the Robot Vision Group at Imperial College. He was approached by Dyson and asked to help develop the core computer vision algorithms for the next generation robotic cleaner. After over a decade of working together, the Dyson 360 eye™ vaccum cleaner was announced, with computer vision at its heart.
Both Dyson and Professor Davison were keen to build on this relationship - so the Dyson Robotics Lab at Imperial College was born. Dyson have provided significant funding and support to build a team of robotics experts. Led by Professor Davison and Dr Stefan Leutenegger, the lab's focus is on developing computer vision programmes that will enable robots to move beyond their controlled environments, and successfully navigate and interact with the real world.
The collaboration came at a time when other major technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft continue to buy up artificial intelligence and robotics companies in an effort to move toward the next generation of intelligent computing for the home and work.
Professor Davison continues to lead the Robot Vision Group at Imperial College, which work closely with the researchers at the Dyson Robotics Lab. Together in this field, they continue to push the state-of-the-art forward. Artificial intelligence and robotics approach a pivotal moment as the industry moves towards the next generation of intelligent computing for work and the home.
Apart from their commitment to funding and supporting the team of robotics experts at Imperial, Dyson act as a keystone partner, having established the Dyson School of Design Engineering in July 2014. Together Imperial and Dyson continue to advance the frontiers of state-of-the-art engineering.