MSc
Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Key Information


Duration

1 year

Part-time

2 years

Start Date

September 2024

Typical Offer

See More

Campus

Brayford Pool

Academic Year

Course Overview

The MSc Robotics and Autonomous Systems is designed to equip students with the advanced knowledge and skills needed to develop the innovative solutions required by the emerging global industry in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), and across many other sectors where RAS skills are applicable. These may include robotics and automation in agriculture, food processing, transport, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and nuclear.

The programme aims to prepare students to continue their study in a research capacity, allowing them to further specialise and focus their interests. Lincoln hosts the UK's - and one of the world's - largest concentration of agricultural robotics researchers, and is a major hub of UK agribusiness. Many though not all students choose to specialise in this area, including by collaborating with local companies who have existing R&D relationships with our research. Course content is informed by research carried out at the University of Lincoln, especially in the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems. This aims to ensure that content remains consistently underpinned by the latest thinking.

The programme is an extension Master's. It assumes that students will have already completed a computer science or similar technology-based degree, and will want to extend that knowledge in depth and with specialist focus on Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS). Students have the chance to enhance and apply existing knowledge of computer programming and mathematical frameworks through laboratory workshops, lectures, debates, and independent research. The course assumes a familiarity with programming concepts and the supporting mathematical framework, while presenting advanced concepts relating specifically to the computing domain.

Why Choose Lincoln

Extend your existing knowledge through this extension Master's

Develop advanced knowledge and skills needed to develop innovative solutions

Informed by the research of academic teams at Lincoln

Complete an independent research project in a specialist area

YouTube video for Why Choose Lincoln

How You Study

Students on this programme can experience a blend of different teaching and learning approaches. The programme aims to enable the development of skills through practical workshops in the laboratory, and academic knowledge through debate, lectures, discussion, and personal research.

Modules assume a familiarity with programming concepts and the supporting mathematical framework, while presenting advanced concepts relating specifically to the computing domain. Each module typically consists of 12 weeks of study. This time includes a supporting lecture programme, a series of supported laboratory sessions, and time for the completion of assignment exercises and examinations. Weekly contact hours on this programme may vary depending on the individual module options chosen and the stage of study. The programme is also supported by online access to lecture material and related information.

Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour spent in class, students are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study.

Modules


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Advanced Artificial Intelligence 2024-25CMP9794MLevel 72024-25This module aims to cover the theoretical fundamentals and practical applications of decision-making, problem-solving and learning abilities in software agents. Search is introduced as a unifying framework for Artificial Intelligence (AI), followed by key topics including blind and informed search algorithms, planning and reasoning, both with certain and uncertain (e.g. probabilistic) knowledge. Practical exercises in AI programming will complement and apply the theoretical knowledge acquired to real-world problems.CoreAdvanced Machine Learning 2024-25CMP9137MLevel 72024-25This module aims to cover the theoretical fundamentals and practical application of machine learning algorithms, including supervised, unsupervised, reinforcement and evolutionary learning. Practical programming exercises complement and apply the theoretical knowledge acquired to real-world problems such as data mining.CoreAdvanced Robotics 2024-25CMP9764MLevel 72024-25This module focuses on advanced concepts in robotics. Students are introduced to navigation and state estimation for mobile robots and discuss optimality principles and relevant algorithms for path planning, trajectory optimisation and control for robot manipulators. In the second part of the module, there will be a discussion of data-driven approaches that can learn from human teachers and interaction with the environment. To deepen the understanding of the introduced mathematical concepts, practical examples will be discussed in the lectures as well as implemented in the workshops.CoreComputer Vision 2024-25CMP9135MLevel 72024-25This module aims to explore current methodologies in the field of computer vision, covering a range of aspects in capturing, processing, analysing and interpreting rich visual content. The aim is to offer students with a deep understanding and to allow an exposure to the latest developments in computer vision, equipping them with knowledge in practical depth. The module will also provide the opportunity for training in programming skills (e.g. Matlab), tools and methods that are necessary for the implementation of computer vision systems. The module will also cover applications of computer vision in various fields, such as in object recognition/tracking, medical image analysis, multimedia indexing and retrieval and intelligent surveillance systems, allowing the students the opportunity to establish a full awareness to the technology advance in this rapidly evolving field.CoreFoundations of Robotics 2024-25CMP9765MLevel 72024-25This module introduces the mathematical and practical foundations of robotics which underlie most advanced systems. Mathematical foundations include relevant engineering mathematics, dynamics and kinematics, probability and elementary control, while practice includes understanding sensors and actuators used in real-world systems.CoreFrontiers of Robotics Research 2024-25CMP9766MLevel 72024-25This module introduces cutting-edge topics in robotics and autonomous systems research areas, including both theory and practical applications. The module will follow a research seminar format, involving input from colleagues across the School of Computer Science and other Schools at Lincoln. Additionally, guest lectures from industry representatives and leading international researchers will be offered. Industrial applications such as robotics for agriculture and food production will naturally be covered as part of this module. Students will further benefit from opportunities to discuss potential research topics that they can explore to build and enhance their research and critical thinking skills.CoreResearch Methods (MSc Computer Science) 2024-25CMP9139MLevel 72024-25This module is designed to cover the fundamental skills and background knowledge that students need to undertake research related to the title of the award being studied, including: surveying literature; selecting and justifying a research topic; planning of research; selection of appropriate research methods; evaluation of research; presentation and reporting of research; and legal, social, ethical and professional considerations.CoreResearch Project 2024-25CMP9140MLevel 72024-25This module presents students with the opportunity to carry out a significant inquiry-driven project, focusing on a topical area of interest that is aligned with their programme of study. This is primarily realised through the development of a dissertation and substantive software implementation. The research project is an individual piece of work, which enables students to apply and integrate elements of study from a range of modules, centred on a specific research question. The student will undertake work that is relevant to the ongoing research in either one of the established research centres within the School of Computer Science or through the development of a project concept in consultation with their allocated academic supervisor. Students are required to undertake the development of a software artefact that is non-trivial in scale and goals, and is supported by best-practice application of appropriate theoretical frameworks. The work should also draw upon and enrich the student’s own experience.CoreRobot Programming 2024-25CMP9767MLevel 72024-25This module focuses on practical and aspects of software development and engineering for robotics. It aims to equip students with an in-depth understanding of the specific programming requirements in the domain, such as (soft-) real time processing, coordination & orchestration of robotics systems and different communication paradigms of integrated robotic systems. Students can engage in practical assignments, programming robots in simulation and the real world. Different components of robotic systems (examples comprise perception, localisation, path planning, mapping, search & learning) will be taught and appraised, facilitated by lectures and guided learning in workshops. Students have the chance to develop and understanding of the fundamentals of robotic frameworks and middlewares, enabling them to program and orchestrate complex robotic systems in practice. Students may have the opportunity to work on tasks informed by state-of-the-art robotics research challenges and competitions. Where feasible, students will be given the opportunity to work towards specific tasks in such internationally recognised challenges, with the potential to qualify for participation.Core

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.

How you are assessed

The programme is assessed through a variety of means, including in-class tests, coursework, projects, and examinations. The majority of assessments are coursework-based, reflecting the practical and applied nature of computer science. The final stage research project enables students to further specialise and complete a piece of work of significant complexity.

Student As Producer

Our MSc students often publish papers for robotics conferences and in journals during their studies, in collaboration with their lecturers and other researchers at Lincoln. This style of learning is known as 'student as producer'.

Here are some recent examples, including links to the PDF publications, and some with video demonstrations. Getting a publication is often a key requirement for obtaining a funded PhD place or industry research and development job.

Student Publications

K Gaikwad, R Soni, C Fox, C Waltham. Open source hardware robotics interfacing board. TAROS2023

R Trimble, C Fox. Skid-steer friction calibration protocol for digital twin creation. TAROS2023

F Camara, C Waltham, G Churchill, C Fox. OpenPodcar: an open source vehicle for self-driving car research. Journal of Open Hardware, 2023 (Video)

J Davy, C Fox. Simultaneous Base and Arm Trajectories for Multi-Target Mobile Agri-Robot. TAROS 2023 (Video)

G Clawson. A Technology Readiness Level for Blockchain. Proceedings of the 38th ACM/SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing, 2023

E Alabi, F Camara, C Fox. Evaluation of OSMC open source motor driver for reproducible robotics research. TAROS2023.

Perrett, A., Pollard, H., Barnes, C., Schofield, M., Qie, L., Bosilj, P., & Brown, J. M. (2023). DeepVerge: Classification of roadside verge biodiversity and conservation potential. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 102, 101968.

V Wichitwechkarn, C Fox. MACARONS: A Modular and Open-Sourced Automation System for Vertical Farming. Journal of Open Hardware 7 (1), 1-13, 2023 (Video)

G Clawson, C Fox. Blockchain crop assurance and localisation. UKRAS 2022

J Bennett, B Moncur, K Fogarty, G Clawson, and Charles Fox. Towards Open Source Hardware Robotic Woodwind: an Internal Duct Flute Player. ICMC, 2022 (Video)

G Clawson. Sub-SPARC: Investigation of Imperfect Teachers. Proceedings of the 5th UK-RAS Conference 2022

J Stevenson, C Fox. Scaling a hippocampus model with GPU parallelisation and test-driven refactoring. Proc. Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems (Living Machines) 2022 

H Rogers, B Dawson, G Clawson, C Fox. Extending an Open Source Hardware Agri-Robot with Simulation and Plant Re-identification. Oxford AIMS Conference 2021

A Henry, C Fox. Open source hardware automated guitar player ICMC 2021 (Video)

Heiwolt, K, Mandil, W, Cielniak, G and Hanheide, M (2020) Automated Topological Mapping for Agricultural Robots, UKRAS20

H Rogers, C Fox. An open source seeding agri-robot Proceedings of The 3rd UK-RAS Conference, 2020 (Video)

Millard, A, Ravikanna, R, Groß, R, and Chesmore, D (2019) Towards a Swarm Robotic System for Autonomous Cereal Harvesting, TAROS2019.

Project Showcase

Robotic Internal Duct Flute Player

Our students present the first open source hardware (OSH) design and build of an automated robotic internal duct flute player, including an artificial lung and pitch calibration system.

Full Published Article
YouTube video for Project Showcase

Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Agri-Food Robotics

In addition to our relatively broad MSc in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, the University of Lincoln has launched the world's first Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Agri-Food Robotics, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded £6.6 million for the new Centre which will deliver and increased influx robotics expertise at a vital time for the agri-food industry. Over its initial funding lifetime, the CDT will provide funding and training for at least 50 doctoral students, who will be supported by major industry partners and specialise in areas such as autonomous mobility in challenging environments, the harvesting of agricultural crops, soft robotics for handling delicate food products, and ‘co-bots' for maintaining safe human-robot collaboration and interaction in farms and factories.

The CDT supplements our wide-ranging MSc in Robotics and Autonomous Systems by providing a dedicated route leading to further doctoral studies in Agri-Food Robotics. Applications for studentships at the Centre for Doctoral Training can be made online.

AgriFoRwArdS Website

Specialist Facilities

Technical resources for Robotics and Autonomous Systems include research facilities and laboratories, a computer engineering workshop, workstations with flexible development software platforms and equipment. This also includes a fleet of diverse mobile and social robots, advanced compliant robotic manipulators, a swarm of micro-robots, and state-of-the-art agricultural robots.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Application Support

Applying for a postgraduate programme at Lincoln is easy. Find out more about the application process and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page. Here, you'll also be able to find out more about the entry requirements we accept and how to contact us for dedicated support during the process.

How to Apply
A student listening in a seminar

Interviews

An informal interview by video call with the Programme Leader may also be required to make sure candidates have the right background for the course. This informal contact may also include requests for samples of self-directed project work involving a significant element of software and/or systems development.

Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

There are two requirements and students will need to provide evidence of both of them in their application:

(1) A first or upper second class honours degree in computer science or a related discipline. This could include engineering, mathematics, or other numerate science and technology subjects.

(2) Competence in computer programming, roughly to the level of being able to write a basic video game such as Pong in any language. Acceptable forms of evidence of this skill to include in your application include, but are not limited to: (a) academic degree transcript showing 2:1 level scores in two or more programming classes; (b) a copy of a university, employment, or hobby project report detailing programming work; (c) a link to a source code site such as gitlab or github containing samples of your code. (d) a certificate of completion of an online programming course and exam such as https://www.udemy.com/course/the-complete-python-developer-certification-course/ or https://www.udemy.com/course/learn-basics-of-c/

If you have a good numerate degree but no programming experience then you may be able to satisfy the requirements by self-studying programming and passing a programming test online, such as through the above links. This may take a few weeks or months of part-time study depending on your previous knowledge. It is quite common for students to apply in this way.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications:

https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studywithus/internationalstudents/entryrequirementsandyourcountry/

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page:

https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studywithus/internationalstudents/englishlanguagerequirementsandsupport/englishlanguagerequirements/

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study:

https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studywithus/internationalstudents/englishlanguagerequirementsandsupport/pre-sessionalenglishandacademicstudyskills/

Course Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below.

Course Fees

The University offers a range of merit-based, subject-specific, and country-focused scholarships for UK and international students. To help support students from outside of the UK, we offer a number of international scholarships which range from £1,000 up to the value of 50% of tuition fees. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.

Course -Specific Funding and Bursaries

For prospective MSc Robotics and Autonomous Systems students with an outstanding educational background and keen relevant interests in pursuing a PhD in Agri-Food Robotics, our new ESPRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Agri-Food Robotics may be able to provide studentships to support these studies.

For further details please refer to the online application form at:

http://apply.agriforwards-cdt.uk

Course -Specific Additional Costs

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and they will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that they are required to read. However, students may prefer to purchase some of these for themselves and will be responsible for this cost.

Some courses provide opportunities for students to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for travel and accommodation will be covered by the University and so is included in the fee. Where these are optional, students will normally be required to pay their own transport, accommodation, and general living costs.

Funding Your Study

Postgraduate Funding Options

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate study, from Master's Loans to scholarship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact the Programme Leader.

Dr Charles Fox
chfox@lincoln.ac.uk

Postgraduate Events

To get a real feel for what it is like to study at the University of Lincoln, we hold a number of dedicated postgraduate events and activities throughout the year for you to take part in.

Upcoming Postgraduate Events
A group of students sat around a table, working together on a project
The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.