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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N010523/1
Title: Balancing the impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural systems using Robots
Principal Investigator: Purnell, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Dehghani-Sanij, Professor AA Merat, Professor N Richardson, Professor R
Dymski, Professor GA Brown, Professor A Fuentes, Professor R
Kim, Dr J Rogers, Professor CDF Basheer, Professor M
Robertson, Professor I Miodownik, Professor M Cohen, Professor N
Metje, Professor N Graham, Dr G Somjit, Dr N
Prior, Dr SD Dallimer, Dr M Cohn, Professor AG
Chapman, Professor DN
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Balfour Beatty Plc Construction Institute of ASCE DNV GL (UK)
Elgin Energy and Utilities Alliance Leeds City Council
National Grid Scoutek Ltd Severn Trent Plc Group
Synthotech UK Society for Trenchless Technolody Yorkshire Water
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 04 January 2016 Ends: 01 July 2021 Value (£): 4,217,380
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Building Ops & Management Design & Testing Technology
Robotics & Autonomy Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Sep 2015 EPSRC Grand Challenge 2 - Future Cities Announced
29 Jul 2015 Grand Challenges Prioritisation Meeting Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Our vision is that of a city where infrastructure is autonomously maintained and dynamically responsive, focused on: securing the health & wellbeing of its citizens; contributing to flourishing and sustainable natural systems in the city; and creating positive economic and societal outlooks.

Towards our vision we will tackle the Grand Challenge of: Zero disruption from Streetworks in UK Cities by 2050.

Our strongly interdisciplinary team aspires to fulfil our Grand Challenge through pioneering scientific research (and research methods) into: autonomous systems for minimally invasive infrastructure sensing, diagnosis and repair; development of advanced robots for deployment in complex live city environments; and the socio-technical intricacy of the robot - human - natural systems interfaces. We will develop pioneering robot designs, technical implementations and socio-economic impact cases linked to specific application requirements, starting with three case-study systems:

o "Perch and Repair" remote maintenance and modernisation of lighting columns to promote their use as multifunctional platforms for city communication nodes;

o "Perceive and Patch" Swarms of flying vehicles for autonomous inspection, diagnostics, repair and prevention of highway defects (e.g. potholes);

o "Fire and forget" hybrid robots designed to operate indefinitely within live utility pipes performing inspection, repair, metering and reporting tasks.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk