Dr Charles Fox - Programme Leader
Dr Charles Fox researches agricultural and transportation robotics, including autonomous robots for weed control and applications of game theory to self-driving cars. He studied Computer Science, Cognitive Science, and Engineering at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Oxford. He worked as a quantitative hedge fund trader in London, a researcher at the Sheffield Center for Robotics, and as a fellow at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, before joining the UK's largest agri-robotics team at Lincoln. His robots have featured in The Times, on the Discovery Channel, and on BBC Radio 4.School Staff List Make an Enquiry
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 can also 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).
The programme gives students 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.
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.
For more detailed information please contact the Programme Leader.
We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. To help you choose the course that’s right for you, we aim to bring to your attention all the important information you may need. Our What You Need to Know page offers detailed information on key areas including contact hours, assessment, optional modules, and additional costs. For research programmes this includes research fees and research support fees.
This 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.
This 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.
This 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.
This 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.
This 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.
This module provides an introduction to cutting-edge topics in robotics and autonomous systems research, including both theory and practical applications. The module will follow a research seminar format, involving input from staff across the robotics research team at Lincoln and guest lectures from industry representatives and leading international researchers in the field. Industrial applications such as robotics for agriculture and food production will naturally be covered as part of this module. Students can further benefit from opportunities to discuss possible research topics with potential project supervisors and clients, and production of a research proposal and literature review leading into the Research Project.
This 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.
This module gives students with the opportunity to carry out a significant project, focusing on an area of particular personal and professional interest, through the development of a dissertation and substantive software implementation. The research project is an individual piece of work, which gives students the chance to apply and integrate elements of study from a range of modules, centred on a specific research question. Students are expected to undertake work that is relevant to the ongoing research in one of the established research centres within the Lincoln School of Computer Science and will work closely under the supervision of a member of that research centre. 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.
This 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.
† 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.
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.
The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to students promptly – usually within 15 working days of the submission date.
Postgraduate study is an investment in yourself and your future, and it's important to understand the costs involved and the funding options available before you start. A full breakdown of the fees associated with this programme can be found on our course fees pages.
There are more ways than ever before to fund your postgraduate study, whether you want to do a taught or research course. For those wishing to undertake a Master's course, you can apply for a loan as a contribution towards the course and living costs. Loans are also available to those who wish to undertake doctoral study. The University offers a number of scholarships and funded studentships for those interested in postgraduate study. Learn how Master's and PhD loans, scholarships, and studentships can help you fund your studies on our Postgraduate Fees and Funding pages.
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:
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.
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 one 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 your application does not include sufficient evidence of both of the above, you may be rejected or asked to provide samples of self-directed project work or to have an informal conversation on Skype to clarify them.
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:
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:
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:
At Lincoln, Covid-19 has encouraged us to review our practices and, as a result, to take the opportunity to find new ways to enhance the student experience. We have made changes to our teaching and learning approach and to our campus, to ensure that students and staff can enjoy a safe and positive learning experience. We will continue to follow Government guidance and work closely with the local Public Health experts as the situation progresses, and adapt our teaching and learning accordingly to keep our campus as safe as possible.
An informal interview by Skype 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.
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.
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 via:
This course aims to develop the skills required for employment in the emerging Robotics and Autonomous Systems industry, and across many other sectors where these skills are applicable. These can include agri-food, automation, industry 4.0, healthcare, logistics, military, nuclear, security, and transport. Some graduates may choose to continue research at doctoral level.
Find out more about how postgraduate study can help further your career, develop your knowledge, or even prepare you to start your own business at one of our postgraduate events.Find out More