Robotics: A Very Short Introduction

Cover image: Swarm Intelligence

Cover Image: Swarm Robotics








Alan FT Winfield
Professor of Robot Ethics, UWE Bristol
Visiting Professor, Department of Electronics, University of York
Member of the UWE Science Communication Unit

Faculty of Environment and Technology
University of the West of England, Bristol
Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY
Phone: +44 117 328 2644
Email:  Alan.Winfield (at)
Skype: alanftwinfield

Welcome to my research home page. I'm an engineer and academic at UWE Bristol, and I conduct research in cognitive robotics within the Bristol Robotics Lab.

I am deeply interested in mobile robots for two reasons: (1), they are complex and potentially useful machines that embody just about every design challenge and discipline there is and (2), robots allow us to address some deep questions about life, emergence, culture and intelligence in a radically new way, that is by building models. Thus, robotics is for me both engineering and experimental philosophy.

I'm committed to the widest possible dissemination of research and ideas in science, engineering and technology; there's no doubt that robots provide us with a wonderful vehicle for public engagement. I'm also involved in a number of AI and robotics ethics initiatives, including the development of new Standards.

Blog + Twitter
  Short Biography
  Press and Media
  LinkedIn profile
Current Projects:
Robotics for Nuclear Environments
Verifiable Autonomy blog posts
  euRathlon/ERL blog posts

Recent Projects:
  Symbrion blog posts
Artificial Culture blog posts
  Robotic Visions blog posts
  Walking with Robots blog posts
  on ResearchGate
  on the UWE Repository

Research students
Recent stuff:
Guest appearance on The Life Scientific, BBC R4.

New project: Robotics for Nuclear Environments. See UWE press release.
Talks Coming Up:

Machine Morality: Robot Ethics in the 21st Century, Royal Institution, London, 22 June 2017.

When will Robots Outsmart us?, Royal Society panel at the Science Museum, London, 21 July 2017.

Selected recent papers:

Bryson, J. and Winfield, A. F. (2017) Standardizing ethical design for artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. Computer, 50 (5). pp. 116-119. ISSN 0018-9162

Vanderelst, D. and Winfield, A. (2017) An architecture for ethical robots inspired by the simulation theory of cognition. Cognitive Systems Research. ISSN 1389-0417 Download pre-print (pdf).

Boden, M., Bryson, J., Caldwell, D., Dautenhahn, K., Edwards, L., Kember, S., Newman, P., Parry, V., Pegman, G., Rodden, T., Sorrell, T., Wallis, M., Whitby, B. and Winfield, A. F. (2017) Principles of robotics: Regulating robots in the real world. Connection Science, 29 (2). pp. 124-129. ISSN 0954-0091

Vanderelst, D. and Winfield, A. (2017) Rational imitation for robots: The cost difference model. Adaptive Behavior, 25 (2). pp. 60-71. ISSN 1059-7123 Available from:

Timmis, J., Ismail, A. R., Bjerknes, J. D. and Winfield, A. F. (2016) An immune-inspired swarm aggregation algorithm for self-healing swarm robotic systems. BioSystems, 146. pp. 60-76. ISSN 0303-2647 Available from:

Winfield, A. F., Franco, M. P., Brueggemann, B., Castro, A., Limon, M. C., Ferri, G., Ferreira, F., Liu, X., Petillot, Y., Roning, J., Schneider, F., Stengler, E., Sosa, D. and Viguria, A. (2016) euRathlon 2015: A multi-domain multi-robot grand challenge for search and rescue robots . In: Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems. (9716) Springer, pp. 351-363. ISBN 9783319403786 Available from:

Castello E, Yamamoto T, Liu W, Winfield AF, Nakamura Y and Ishiguro H. (2016) Adaptive foraging for simulated and real robotic swarms: The dynamical response threshold approach. Swarm Intelligence, 10 (1). pp. 1-31. Download pre-print (pdf).

Updated 2 June 2017