Dr Jonathan M. Aitken
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Senior University Teacher in Robotics
+44 114 222 5660
Full contact details
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Pam Liversidge Building
Dr Jonathan Aitken is an Academic within the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering. Previously as a Research Fellow he worked in the Autonomous Control Laboratory within the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Group of ACSE. His work focuses on autonomous reconfiguration of robotic systems, especially on quadcopter platforms.
He maintains an active interest in deploying autonomous robotics within the real world. His primary areas of research are in developing processes and policies for the safe use of autonomous drones, computer vision, spatial awareness of robotic systems and operation of multi-robot teams in the field. He is also active in the area of cobotics (collaborative robotics), enabling people to get up close to manufacturing robots and collaborate with them both safely and enjoyably. Thereby reducing negative attitudes towards robots.
Dr Aitken is a qualified and licensed commercial drone pilot within the UK.
Jonathan holds a Master's degree (2005) and PhD (2009) in Electronic Engineering, both awarded by the University of York. Working with Tim Clarke in the Department of Electronics, Jonathan researched distributed and fault-tolerant multi-agent systems built using techniques including wavelet-based system-identification and Artificial Immune Systems.
Dr Aitken has previously worked in the Computer Science Department at the University of York, where he was a member of the High Integrity Systems Engineering Group, working on safety in Systems-of-Systems, especially dynamic risk assessment, and developed interests in evolving justifiably safe systems. During this time he also acted as an independent assessor for the Industrial Avionics Working Group (IAWG) developing a process for documenting modular software safety cases.
- Research interests
- Autonomous reconfiguration of robotic systems;
- Spatial awareness of robotic systems, especially drones;
- Programming and deployment of safe collaborative robotics;
- Search-Based Software Engineering;
Watch some of our Intelligent Flying Robots.
- Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems. Springer International Publishing.
- HFNet-SLAM: an accurate and real-time monocular SLAM system with deep features. Sensors, 23(4).
- Implementation of a flexible and lightweight depth-based visual servoing solution for feature detection and tracing of large, spatially-varying manufacturing workpieces. Robotics, 11(1).
- A modular digital twinning framework for safety assurance of collaborative robotics. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 8.
- Hybrid verification technique for decision-making of self-driving vehicles. Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks, 10(3).
- Verified Synthesis of Optimal Safety Controllers for Human-Robot Collaboration.. CoRR, abs/2106.06604.
- The effect of social-cognitive recovery strategies on likability, capability and trust in social robots. Computers in Human Behavior.
- Language-free graphical signage improves human performance and reduces anxiety when working collaboratively with robots. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 100(1-4), 55-73. View this article in WRRO
- Quantifying situation awareness for small unmanned aircraft: Towards routine Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations. The Aeronautical Journal, 122(1251), 733-746. View this article in WRRO
- Autonomous Nuclear Waste Management. IEEE Intelligent Systems. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Distributed selection of flight formation in UAV missions. Journal of Applied Mathematics & Bioinformatics, 6(3), 93-124.
- Evolving robust networks for systems-of-systems: is it viable for large networks?. Empirical Software Engineering, 19(5), 1502-1530.
- Reconfigurable Autonomy. KI - Künstliche Intelligenz, 28(3), 199-207. View this article in WRRO
- Observer/Kalman Filter Identification with Wavelets. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SIGNAL PROCESSING, 60(7), 3476-3485.
- A robust method for approximate visual robot localization in feature-sparse sewer pipes. Frontiers of Robotics and AI.
- Dynamic Graphical Instructions Result in Improved Attitudes and Decreased Task Completion Time in Human–Robot Co-Working: An Experimental Manufacturing Study. Sustainability, 14(6), 3289-3289.
- View this article in WRRO Collision Avoidance of Two Autonomous Quadcopters.
- Simultaneous Localization and Mapping for Inspection Robots in Water and Sewer Pipe Networks: A Review. IEEE Access.
- Safety Controller Synthesis for a Mobile Manufacturing Cobot, Software Engineering and Formal Methods (pp. 271-287). Springer International Publishing
Conference proceedings papers
- Investigating scene visibility estimation within ORB-SLAM3. Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems: 23rd Annual Conference, TAROS 2022, Culham, UK, September 7–9, 2022, Proceedings, Vol. LNAI 13546 (pp 155-165). Culham, UK, 7 September 2022 - 9 September 2022.
- ROSIE: A ROS Adapter for a Modular Digital Twinning Framework*. 2022 31st IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), 29 August 2022 - 2 September 2022.
- Toward robust visual odometry using prior 2D map information and multiple hypothesis particle filtering. Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems; 22nd Annual Conference, TAROS 2021, Lincoln, UK, September 8–10, 2021, Proceedings, 8 September 2021 - 10 September 2021.
- Robust top-down and bottom-up visual saliency for mobile robots using bio-inspired design principles. 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) (pp 8444-8449). Prague, Czech Republic, 27 September 2021 - 1 October 2021.
- Assessing the feasibility of monocular visual simultaneous localization and mapping for live sewer pipes: a field robotics study. 2021 20th International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR), 6 December 2021 - 10 December 2021.
- Online scene visibility estimation as a complement to SLAM in UAVs. Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems : 22nd Annual Conference, TAROS 2021, Lincoln, UK, September 8–10, 2021, Proceedings (pp 365-369). Lincoln, UK, 8 September 2021 - 10 September 2021.
- Visual saliency with foveated images for fast object detection and recognition in mobile robots using low-power embedded GPUs. The Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR) (pp 773-778). Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2 December 2019 - 6 December 2019. View this article in WRRO
- Robots claiming space: Gauging public reaction using computer vision techniques. Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems, Vol. LNCS, 10965 (pp 468-470), 25 July 2018 - 27 July 2018. View this article in WRRO
- Intuitive Interfaces in Human-Robot Interaction. Proceedings of the 19th Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS) Conference, Vol. LNAI 10965 (pp 462-464), 25 July 2018 - 27 July 2018. View this article in WRRO
- Dynamic Graphical Signage Improves Response Time and Decreases Negative Attitudes towards Robots in Human-Robot Co-working. Human-Friendly Robotics, Vol. 7 (pp 139-149), 6 November 2017 - 7 November 2017. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Cobotics: developing a visual language for human-robotic collaborations. Proceedings of the Cumulus Conference, 11 April 2018 - 14 April 2018.
- A ROS-integrated API for the KUKA LBR iiwa collaborative robot. IFAC-PapersOnLine, Vol. 50(1) (pp 15859-15864) View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Towards artificial situation awareness by autonomous vehicles. IFAC-PapersOnLine, Vol. 50(1) (pp 7038-7043)
- Safety and Verification for a Mobile Guide Robot. USES
- “Please Press Floor B”: Engendering Trust in a Guide Robot. USES
- Symbiotic relationship between robots — a ROS ARDrone/YouBot library. 2016 UKACC 11th International Conference on Control (CONTROL), 31 August 2016 - 2 September 2016. View this article in WRRO
- Assessing Graphical Robot Aids for Interactive Co-working. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing (including subseries Advances in Ergonomics of Manufacturing: Managing the Enterprise of the Future), Vol. 490 (pp 229-240), 27 July 2016 - 31 July 2016. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO ROBO-GUIDE - Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Project. Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium of Engineering Education
- Don’t Worry, We’ll Get There: Developing Robot Personalities to Maintain User Interaction After Robot Error (pp 409-412) View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO On the complexity of formal verification of small and micro UAS. Proceedings of the European Control Conference 2016
- Agent-Based Autonomous Systems and Abstraction Engines: Theory Meets Practice (pp 75-86) View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Robot-stated limitations but not intentions promote user assistance. AISB Annual Convention 2016, AISB 2016
- Deep parameter optimisation for face detection using the Viola-Jones algorithm in OpenCV. Search Based Software Engineering. SSBSE 2016 (pp 238-243). Raleigh, NC, USA, 8 October 2016 - 10 October 2016. View this article in WRRO
- Towards formal verification of small and micro UAS. 2016 European Control Conference (ECC), 29 June 2016 - 1 July 2016.
- A model based design framework for safety verification of a semi-autonomous inspection drone. 2016 UKACC 11th International Conference on Control (CONTROL), 31 August 2016 - 2 September 2016. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Framing Factors: The Importance of Context and the Individual in Understanding Trust in Human-Robot Interaction. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Workshop on Designing an. Hamburg, Germany, 28 September 2015 - 2 October 2015.
- ROBO-GUIDE: Towards Safe, Reliable, Trustworthy, and Natural Behaviours in Robotic Assistants (pp 149-154) View this article in WRRO
- Floor determination in the operation of a lift by a mobile guide robot. 2015 European Conference on Mobile Robots (ECMR), 2 September 2015 - 4 September 2015. View this article in WRRO
- Help! I Can’t Reach the Buttons: Facilitating Helping Behaviors Towards Robots (pp 354-358) View this article in WRRO
- Adaptation of System Configuration under the Robot Operating System. IFAC Proceedings Volumes, Vol. 47(3) (pp 4484-4492), 24 August 2014 - 29 August 2014.
- Control theory for principled heap sizing. Proceedings of the 2013 international symposium on memory management
- Control Theory for Principled Heap Sizing. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ACM SIGPLAN INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON MEMORY MANAGEMENT (ISMM '13) (pp 27-38)
- View this article in WRRO Graphical Signage Decreases Negative Attitudes towards Robots and Robot Anxiety in Human-Robot Co-working. Proceedings of the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Conference
- The Pathways of Complement. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 5132 (pp 364-375). Phuket, Thailand, 10 August 2008 - 13 August 2008.
- Using Data Confluences in a Distributed Network with Social Monitoring to Identify Fault Conditions. 11th IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation (ETFA) (pp 703-710). Prague, Czech Republic, 20 September 2006 - 22 September 2006.
- Automated Heap Sizing in the Poly/ML Runtime. Trends in Functional Programming. St Andrews, Scotland, 12 June 2012 - 14 June 2012.
- Control Theory for Principled Heap Sizing. ACM SIGPLAN International Symposium on Memory Management. Seattle, Washington, USA, 20 June 2013 - 21 June 2013.
- Evolving Robust Networks for Systems-of-Systems. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 7515 (pp 30-44). Riva del Garda, Trento, Italy, 28 September 2012 - 30 September 2012.
- A Risk Modelling Approach for a Communicating System of Systems. 5th IEEE International Systems Conference (pp 442-447). Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 4 April 2011 - 7 April 2011.
- A Case for Dynamic Risk Assessment in NEC Systems of Systems. 5th IEEE International Conference on Systems of Systems Engineering (SoSE) (pp 1-6). Loughborough, UK, 22 June 2010 - 24 June 2010.
- Pervasive Sensing for Buried Pipes, EPSRC Programme Grant - Principal Investigator: Professor Kirill Horoshenkov, Co-Investigators: Professor Joby Boxall, Professor Lyudmila Mihaylova, Dr Anthony Croxford, Professor Chris Rogers, Professor Netta Cohen, Professor Bruce Drinkwater, Professor Simon Tait, Dr Sean Anderson, Professor Rob Richardson, Professor Ian Robertson, Professor Nicole Metje, Dr Jordan Boyle, Dr Mehmet Dogar, Dr Anton Krynkin, Dr Alma Schellart, Dr Nutapong Somjit, Dr Alexander Velichko, Dr Syed Ali Raza Zaidi, Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, 2019, £7,290,965.
- Confident safety integration for Cobots (CSI: Cobot), Lloyds Registry Foundation, Principal Investigator: Dr James Law, Co-Investigators: Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, Professor Lyudmila Mihaylova, Dr Radu Calinescu, Dr Rob Alexander, Professor John Clark, £449,870, 2019
- EPSRC ECR Capital Enhancement Programme 2018, EPSRC Principal Investigator: Dr James Law, Co-Investigators: Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, Dr Samantha G. Abrego, Dr Mauricio A. Alvarez, Dr David Cameron, Dr Stevienna De Saille, Dr Michael Farnsworth, Dr Windo Hutabarat, Dr Gabriel G. Kapellmann, Dr Michael Mangan, Dr Hector Marin-Reyes, Dr Nicola Ridgway, Dr Hannes P. Saal, Dr Boyang Song, Dr Divya Tiwari, Dr Stuart Wilson, 2018, £107,123
- Development of a prototype electromechanical system for assisting with bottle adornment, Industrially funded - Principal Investigator: Dr James Law, Co-Investigator: Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, £37,910.
- HEIF Uplift - Robotics, Higher Education Funding Council for England, Principal Investigator: Professor Tony Prescott, Co-Investigator: Dr James Law, Dr Ana MacIntosh, Mr Richard French, Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, £60,136
- Connecting Capability in Safe Human-Robot Collaboration, Higher Education Funding Council for England, Principal Investigator: Dr James Law, Co-Investigator: Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, Professor John Clark, 2017, £20,000.
- Human robot co-working for wing manufacture, University of Sheffield Impact Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE), Principal Investigator: Dr James Law, Co-Investigator: Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, 2017, £16,842.
- Re-Cyclates: boosting efficiency and effectiveness, Industrially funded - Principal Investigator: Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, Co-Investigators: Dr James Law, Professor Sandor Veres, Dr Charith Abhayaratne, 2016, £25,188.
- Developing visual signs and symbols to aid human robot interaction scenarios, EPSRC Impact Accelerator - Principal Investigator: Dr James Law, Co-Investigators: Dr Jonathan M. Aitken, Dr David Cameron and Professor Ian Gwilt, 2016, £33,849.
- Assessing Graphical Robot Aids for Interactive Co-working (A-GRAfIC), EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation Feasibility Study - Principal Investigator: Dr James Law, Co-Investigators: Dr Jonathan M. Aitken and Dr David Cameron, 2016, £19,998.
- Engineering Researchers Society Development Opportunities (DO) Fund, University of Sheffield. To attend ISEE 2016, £200.
- Royal Academy of Engineering International Travel Grant, Grant Reference: ITG 08-670. To attend ICARIS 2008, £500.
- Teaching interests
Dr Aitken currently teaches:
- ACS322 Individual Projects (BEng)
- ACS6107 Research Project
- ACS6200 Control Systems Project and Dissertation
- ACS6300 Robotics Project and Dissertation
- ACS6420 Advanced Projects
- ACS6503 Manipulator Robotics
Dr Aitken has previously taught:
- ACS329 Robotics
- ACS6329 Robotics
- ACS330 Group Project
- ACS337 Robot Systems
- ACS6121 Robotics and Autonomous Systems
- ACS6420 Advanced Projects