Engineer Professor Andrew Davison has been appointed as the Royal Academy of Engineering/Dyson Chair in Efficient Vision for Robotics at Imperial College London. The newly created Chair, jointly funded by the Academy and Dyson, provides support for five years to develop the computer vision technology crucial to the future of home robotics.

Professor Davison, who is currently leading the £5m Dyson robotics lab at Imperial College London, will now have the opportunity to further build on over 20 years’ experience in real-time vision technology, aiming to better understand the algorithms needed in state-of-the-art cameras and computer processors. The latest hardware is being engineered to work in a decentralised way – far more like the human brain than earlier computers, allowing the technology to consume much less power. By tackling the challenge of making vision algorithms, which take advantage of advances in processor and sensor design to deliver efficient real-time estimates of their surroundings, the research will pave the way for their use in affordable domestic robotic products.

Professor Davison, who also leads the Dyson Robotics Lab at Imperial, said: “I am very grateful to the Royal Academy of Engineering and Dyson for supporting my ongoing research in 3D vision. Pushing the boundaries of efficient algorithms is one of the main keys to enabling this technology to make an impact in genuinely useful future products.”

Professor Ric Parker CBE FREng, Chair of the Academy’s Research Committee, said: “Professor Davison’s research will build on years of world-leading innovation in computing, imaging and consumer electronics with the potential to have an impact on every home in the country. The Royal Academy of Engineering is delighted to support him as Research Chair.”

Notes for editors

  1. RAEng Research Chairs aim to strengthen the links between industry and academia by supporting exceptional academics in UK universities to undertake use-inspired research that meets the needs of the industrial partners. Applications are invited from professors, readers or senior lecturers from any engineering discipline wishing to build strong industrial collaborations. Engineering is defined in its broadest sense, encompassing a wide range of diverse fields, including computer science and materials.

  2. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

    We have four strategic challenges:
    - Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
    - Address the engineering skills crisis
    - Position engineering at the heart of society
    - Lead the profession

  3. About Imperial College London. Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 14,000 students and 7,500 staff are expanding the frontiers of knowledge in science, medicine, engineering and business, and translating their discoveries into benefits for society.

    Founded in 1907, Imperial builds on a distinguished past - having pioneered penicillin, holography and fibre optics - to shape the future. Imperial researchers work across disciplines to improve health and wellbeing, understand the natural world, engineer novel solutions and lead the data revolution. This blend of academic excellence and its real-world application feeds into Imperial's exceptional learning environment, where students participate in research to push the limits of their degrees.

    Imperial collaborates widely to achieve greater impact. It works with the NHS to improve healthcare in west London, is a leading partner in research and education within the European Union, and is the UK's number one research collaborator with China.

    Imperial has nine London campuses, including its White City Campus: a 25 acre research and innovation centre in west London. At White City, researchers, businesses and higher education partners are co-locating to create value from ideas on a global scale.

  4. Dyson technology is now sold in 72 markets globally, with over 90% sold outside the UK.  Employing 9,000 worldwide, Dyson expects to spend £5m per week on research and development in 2016 and an additional £100m over the next three years on external technology investments.  It has 40 products in development and 50 active research programmes with 20 universities.

    In 2016 the first phase of Dyson’s Research, Design & Development campus will open in Malmesbury – part of a £250m UK expansion and a wider £1.5bn investment in technology which will see a doubling in the size of the current research footprint in the UK.

    In 2016, Dyson was named one of the UK’s top ten favourite brands, according to YouGov BrandIndex. Dyson ranked 5th beating the likes M&S, YouTube, Apple & Waitrose. In 2016, Dyson was named the 5th best place to work in the UK, according to a report for Bloomberg by Statista. In 2016, Dyson was ranked 4th most admired brand based on the views of a 100 top directors from the UK’s largest companies, approximately half of whom are in the FTSE 350. 

For more information please contact:

Aaron Boardley at the Royal Academy of Engineering
T: 020 7766 0655
E:  Aaron Boardley