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Nick Hawes is an Associate Professor in the Oxford Robotics Institute, part of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. He is also a Tutorial Fellow at Pembroke College, and a Group Leader for AI/Robotics at the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for AI and data science. At Oxford he leads the Goal-Oriented Autonomous Long-Lived Systems (GOALS) group which performs research into sequential decision-making for autonomous systems, including robots and heterogenous multi-agent teams. From 2013 to 2017 he led the EU STRANDS project which achieved breakthroughs in long-term autonomy for mobile service robots in everyday environments. More recent highlights include the deployment of an autonomous mission planning stack on a quadruped at an active nuclear site, and on an autonomous underwater vehicle harvesting data from a sensor network.

Talk Title: Better Autonomy Through Uncertainty


Due to the challenges of perception and action, and inevitable inaccuracies in world modelling, the results of a robot’s interactions with its environment are inherently stochastic. To successfully complete extended missions under such conditions it is therefore essential that autonomous robots use techniques from decision-making under uncertainty to plan goal-directed behaviour. In this talk I will give an overview of our recent work on planning under uncertainty for autonomous robots, drawing examples from mobile service robots, underwater vehicles, and quadrupeds.

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