Robotics: A Very Short Introduction

Cover image: Swarm Intelligence

Cover Image: Swarm Robotics









Alan FT Winfield
Professor of Electronic Engineering, UWE Bristol
Visiting Professor, Department of Electronics, University of York
Director of the UWE Science Communication Unit

Faculty of Environment and Technology
University of the West of England, Bristol
Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY
Phone: +44 117 328 2644
Email:  Alan.Winfield (at)
Skype: alanftwinfield

Welcome to my home page. I'm an engineer and academic at UWE Bristol, and I conduct research in mobile robotics within the Bristol Robotics Lab.

I am deeply interested in mobile robots for two reasons: (1), they are complex and potentially useful machines that embody just about every design challenge and discipline there is and (2), robots allow us to address some deep questions about life, emergence, culture and intelligence in a radically new way, that is by building models. Thus, robotics is for me both engineering and experimental philosophy.

I'm committed to the widest possible dissemination of research and ideas in science, engineering and technology and I believe that robots provide us with a wonderful vehicle for public engagement. Actually I would go a stage further and argue that intelligent robots will become ubiquitous in the near future and we therefore need to start a dialogue now about the ethical and moral questions that will arise.

Blog + Twitter
  Short Biography
  Press and Media
  LinkedIn profile
Current Projects:
Verifiable Autonomy
  euRathlon blog posts

Recent Projects:
  Symbrion blog posts
Artificial Culture blog posts
  Robotic Visions blog posts
  Walking with Robots blog posts
Research students
New stuff:
Article in the New Scientist, Ethical trap: robot paralysed by choice of who to save, 14 September 2014.   

BBC Radio 4 Today programme (live) interview, Will there ever be an 'ethical robot'?, Tuesday 2 September 2014.

Blog Post: Towards an Ethical Robot

Talks Coming Up

         Robots vs Animals, Bristol Bright Night, At-Bristol Friday 26 September 2014

Selected recent papers

Winfield AFT, Blum C and Liu W (2014), Towards an Ethical Robot: Internal Models, Consequences and Ethical Action Selection, pp 85-96 in Advances in Autonomous Robotics Systems, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 8717, Eds. Mistry M, Leonardis A, Witkowski M and Melhuish C, Springer, 2014. Download final draft (pdf).

O'Dowd P, Studley M and Winfield AFT (2014) The distributed co-evolution of an on-board simulator and controller for swarm robot behaviours. Evolutionary Intelligence, 7 (2). pp. 95-106. Download final draft (pdf).

Winfield AFT (2014), Estimating the Energy Cost of (Artificial) Evolution, pp 872-875 in Artificial Life 15: Proc. 14th Int. Conf. on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems 2014, Eds. H Sayama, John Rieffel, S Risi, R Doursat and D Lipson, MIT Press. Download pdf.

Erbas MD, Winfield AFT and Bull L (2014) Embodied imitation-enhanced reinforcement learning in multi-agent systems
, Adaptive Behavior, 22 (1), 31-50. Download pdf (accepted version).

Bjerknes JD and Winfield AFT (2013) On Fault Tolerance and Scalability of Swarm Robotic Systems, pp 431-444 in Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems, Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics, Volume 83, Eds. A Martinoli et al, Springer-Verlag, Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Download pdf (accepted version).

Woodman R, Winfield AFT, Harper C and Fraser M (2012), Building Safer Robots: Safety Driven Control, International Journal of Robotics Research, 31 (13), 1603-1626. Download pdf (accepted version).

Updated 19 September 2014