Dr Jonathan M. Aitken

Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

University Teacher in Robotics

Jonathan Aitken
jonathan.aitken@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 5660

Full contact details

Dr Jonathan M. Aitken
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Amy Johnson Building
Portobello Street
Sheffield
S1 4DW
Profile

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.

Publications

Edited books

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

Grants
  • 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) FundUniversity 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 (2018-2019):

  • ACS329 Robotics
  • ACS6329 Robotics
  • ACS337 Robotic Systems
  • ACS330 Group Project
  • ACS322 BEng Individual Projects
  • ACS6200 Control Systems Project and Dissertation 
  • ACS6300 Robotics Project and Dissertation
  • ACS6420 Advanced Projects 

Dr Aitken has previously taught:

  • ACS329 Robotics (2016-present)
  • ACS330 Group Project (2017-present)
  • ACS337 Robot Systems (2017-present)
  • ACS6121 Robotics and Autonomous Systems (2016-2018)