Skip to main content

Unit information: Robotics Systems in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Robotics Systems
Unit code EMATM0054
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. O'Dowd
Open unit status Not open

Basic ability in computer programming.



School/department Department of Engineering Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

Robotics is a rapidly growing area of research and industry which can be approached from many angles. Robotics takes engineering out of a purely digital sphere by embedding theory – e.g., physics, mathematics, and computing – within real physical devices (robots) which must safely, reliably and intelligently respond to unpredictable environments.

This unit introduces robotic systems through a project-based coursework concerning a real mobile robot. Students are guided through a combination of laboratory worksheets and lectures. Students are supported to study the sub-components of a robotic system (e.g. robotic sensing, motion control, intelligent decision making), and to bring these together into an integrated autonomous system. These learning objectives are focused around achieving the performance of the mobile robot to complete a challenge task autonomously.

The aims of this unit are:

  • To provide a fun, engaging and informative platform for learning via robotics.
  • To engage students in applying theoretical concepts to a robotic system.
  • To make robotics software development/applications familiar and accessible to students.
  • To provide students with an experience of the complexity of a robotic system from a sub-component level, to enable an appreciation of the constraints and challenges which underlie advanced/further robotics applications/technologies.
  • To support students to develop intelligent methods of investigation and experimentation for robotic systems development.

Please note, this unit is for PGT students only.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of the unit will enable students to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of complex robotic systems from a sub-component level, to enable an appreciation of the constraints and challenges which underlie advanced robotics applications/technologies and further study.
  2. Apply theoretical concepts relevant to robotic systems with multi-faceted, non-deterministic real time requirements.
  3. Employ intelligent methods of investigation and experimentation necessary for working in robotic systems development.
  4. Develop through project-based coursework the necessary skills to conceive of and conduct rigorous empirical studies of robotic systems to gain new knowledge and understanding.
  5. Situate their study in robotics against relevant resources such as academic literature and advances in industry, through the acquisition of fundamental knowledge, understanding, skill and language of subject.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in

Assessment Information

1 Summative Assessment, 100% - Coursework. This will assess all ILOs.

Reading and References

  • Thrun, Sebastian et al, Probabilistic Robotics (MIT Press, 2005) ISBN: 978-0262201629
  • Dudek, Gregory and Jenkin, Michael, Computational Principles of Mobile Robotics, Second Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2010) ISBN: