Imperial College London

Imperial robotics experts launch London Tech Week

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Dr Mirko Kovac at London Technology Week

Robotics experts from Imperial demonstrated some of the world's most advanced aerial robots to help launch London Tech Week.

Dr Mirko Kovac, Director of the Aerial Robotics Lab at Imperial, showcased the College’s ultra-light bio-inspired drones at the event to launch London Technology Week.

There are so many examples in nature of to learn from the way spiders develop webs to how swarms of ants build their colonies.

– Talib Alhinai

Aerial Robotics Lab

The event, held on Monday at London’s iconic Shard building, saw technologists, entrepreneurs and investors gather to celebrate the capitals technology sector. Guests heard from a number of tech experts and saw demonstrations of Imperial’s drones that are putting London at the forefront of aerial robotics technology. 

Dr Kovac, Director of the Aerial Robotics Lab at Imperial, said:“Drones get a bad press but they can improve our lives and be of immense benefit to society. That’s why I talk about ‘drones for humanity’.

“Aerial robots can help us to monitor pollution, protect wildlife and assist in search and rescue operations. At Imperial we are working on autonomous construction and repair with swarms of aerial robots for future cities.”

Student showcase

Dr Kovac and part of his team of PhD researchers, Alejandro Ortega Ancel, Adam Braithwaite, Talib Alhinai and Robert Siddall, explained how their unique drones take inspiration from animals to operate effectively in urban areas and natural terrain where current robots are not able to operate.

Talib Alhinai, a PhD researcher in aerial construction, researches the ways in which animals and architecture can inform the development of drone technology.

Dr Mirko Kovac and Talib Alhinai

Dr Mirko Kovac and Talib Alhinai

Talib said: “There are so many examples in nature of to learn from the way spiders develop webs to how swarms of ants build their colonies. It’s important to understand the principle behind these things, the how and they why, when using this kind of bio-inspiration in aerial construction.”

The event was a chance to meet others in the technology sector keen to discover how Imperial’s drone technology could be applied in the real world.

“There was a lot of interest in the drones from industry” Talib added, “there’s so much potential for them to contribute to smart city innovation. It’s great to see the possibilities with everyone, from start-ups all the way up to the big corporations, looking to develop tech and spur innovation in the city.”

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London Technology Week (15 – 20 June) is a week of face-to-face events celebrating London’s global position as a hotbed of tech innovation, business successes, entrepreneurship and creative talent. The week will see over 200 events taking place bringing together tens of thousands of participants covering a huge variety of topics including gaming, big data, education, music, sport, finance and science

Skoolbo Ambassador and former Olympic Heptathlete Denise Lewis with one of the aerial robots

Skoolbo Ambassador and former Olympic Champion Denise Lewis with one of the aerial robots

Speaking ahead of the event, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP said: “With our unrivalled mix of investors, talent and creativity it is hardly surprising that tech businesses and entrepreneurs are clamouring to be part of the incredible London tech story.

“This sector has flourished beyond recognition in the last five years, creating thousands of jobs and outpacing the rest of the economy.  London Technology Week is rightly a celebration of that success.”

More information on the work of Dr Kovac's team can be found on the Aerial Robotics Lab website.

Reporters

Jon Narcross

Jon Narcross
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Email: press.office@imperial.ac.uk
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Andrew Scheuber

Andrew Scheuber
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 8197
Email: a.scheuber@imperial.ac.uk

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