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Working closely with the Autonomous Vehicle Control Systems lab, recent research has been looking at developing autonomous spacecraft which have, in effect, a 'brain' and the ability to follow commands given in system English rather than computer code. By being able to think for themselves, the satellites can then react to the environment around them, e.g. avoiding asteroids; and the technology may also, in time, reduce the need for humans to go into space for mere routine tasks.  A lot of this work is also being applied to land and sea-based autonomous vehicles.

Extensive work is also being done in the field of developing novel solutions for complex, multi-agent system operation and control strategies.  Research in this area covers theoretical modelling, simulation and experimental testing using model spacecraft.

Innovative work is being done in the area of biologically inspired devices and solutions, for example, development of search algorithms based on bee swarms, and research into the neural signalling in invertebrates’ leg movements. Particular areas of interest include: Search strategies using multi-agent systems; Autonomous multi-agent systems control and modelling; Hardware-in-the-Loop testing of autonomous spacecraft; Sensors-actuators-processors-communications (SAPC) testing; Formation-flying spacecraft control systems design, simulation and testing; Attitude determination and control techniques; Control systems for separated spacecraft; Biologically inspired devices and solutions.

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