Autonomous Systems and Robotics Research Group

This research group carries out world leading research in autonomous processes and autonomous robotic systems by investigating key research problems of sensing, control, decision making and system integration.

Swarm robots

The group is a major contributor to the activities of the Sheffield Robotics centre.

The collective competence of the group is unparalleled in the UK and covers most essential topics of this area: design of autonomous industrial robots, condition monitoring for fault tolerant autonomous systems, biologically inspired principles of sensing and control, international standards for autonomous robots, self-assembling robotic systems and swarms, advanced software architectures for decision making, autonomous hybrid systems modelling, formal verification, and distributed and parallel control systems.

Research themes

We are currently working on a number of projects, including Distributed Sensing and Control of Multiagent Systems, Self Reconfiguring Autonomous Systems, Self-assembling Robotic Systems and Swarm Robotic Systems.


At the Autonomous Control Laboratory we collaborate widely, with other universities, industrial partners, governmental departments, and with national and international standards bodies.

Thales UK

We collaborate with Thales UK on the development of intelligent autonomous surface vehicles which can cope with rough weather conditions to complete a mission without human supervision.

National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield Ltd

We are working on the use of autonomous robotic operations in decommissioning tasks with the National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield Ltd.

BAE, Schlumberger, Network Rail, and SciSys

We work on plug-and-play autonomous system components and systems in collaboration with a group of companies who have identified autonomous systems as an important area for investment.


In collaboration with a number of SMEs, we work on the development of autonomous vehicles and manufacturing / laboratory robots which need very little human supervision and hence increase their user's efficiency and productivity.


With eight core academic members, who supervise many researchers, PhD students, and MSc students, we are an internationally renowned group in the area of autonomous systems and robotics.


Our research environment has a strong industrial focus and delivers impact through strategic partnerships with world-class engineering companies and via industrial research institutes.

Sheffield Microrobotics Lab
Led by Dr Shuhei Miyashita 

Our aim of the Sheffield Microrobotics Lab is to create miniature autonomous "life" in the form of miniature robots through the understanding of principles in nature, with the aim of broadening the possibility of robotics at a small scale.

Our research interests reside in the fields of Robotics, Self-assembly, Advanced fabrication, Material sciences, and Chemical & Biomedical engineering.

Visit the Sheffield Microrobotics Lab

Natural Robotics Laboratory
Led by Dr Roderich Gross

The Natural Robotics Lab provides facilities to experiment with medium-sized teams to large-scale swarms of autonomous robots.

The laboratory has various mobile and modular reconfigurable robotic platforms with more than 150 robots in total. It has a state-of-the-art equipment base including a 3D printer, motion tracking system, and a projector-based virtual environment.

Visit the Natural Robotics Laboratory website



Undergraduate scholarships

Our department offers financial assistance in the form of scholarships and bursaries, in addition to the scholarships offered by the University of Sheffield.

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.