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Department of Computer Science and Technology



Course pages 2022–23

Advanced Robotics

Principal lecturers: Dr Amanda Prorok, Dr Fulvio Forni, Dr Fumiya Iida
Taken by: MPhil ACS, Part III
Code: L32
Term: Lent
Hours: 16 (16 x 1 hour lectures)
Format: In-person lectures
Class limit: max. 12 students
Prerequisites: Introduction to Robotics
Moodle, timetable

Aims and Objectives

This module aims to extend the knowledge and skills of students in designing and developing autonomous machines and researching robotics-related topics. Beyond the Introduction to Robotics course given in Michaelmas Term, the Advanced Robotics course will focus on more advanced topics such as Robot Learning, Underactuated Robot Control, Soft Robotics, Human-Robot Interaction, and Multi-Agent Systems, which are not covered in the introductory course.


  1. Introduction
    • Course overview
    • History and landscape of robotics
    • basic knowledge and theories (kinematics, dynamics, planning/search)
  2. Underactuated Robotics
    • Problem formulation and modelling
    • Control approaches of underactuated systems
    • Case studies
  3. Robot Learning and Adaptation
    • Model-based learning approaches
    • Model-free learning approaches
    • Optimization methods and case studies
  4. Soft Robotics (2L; F Iida)
    • Soft material/body robot modelling
    • Soft actuators and sensors
    • Control and learning of soft robots
  5. 5. Human-Robot Interaction 1
    • Introduction to human-robot interaction
    • Theoretical frameworks (spatial, nonverbal, verbal interactions)
    • Research methods, applications, robots in society
  6. Distributed Robotics, Multi-Agent Systems
    • Planning and control in multi-robot systems
    • Methods for learning coordination and cooperation in multi-agent systems
  7. Coursework Presentations


The assessment will be 100% coursework and consist of three elements:

  1. first individual written report (30%)
  2. intermediate group project presentation (20%)
  3. final individual written report (50%)

The first report is about theoretical questions on the topics of advanced robotics.
The project will be conducted in groups of 2-3 students, and the topics should be either or both simulation/hardware. The intermediate presentation will be delivered by the groups.
The final report is expected to be a professional presentation about the project, extended from the intermediate presentation.

Recommended reading

  • Ronald C. Arkin 1949. Behavior-Based Robotics / Ronald C. Arkin. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1998.; 1998.
  • Bruno Siciliano 1959; Oussama Khatib editor., eds. Springer Handbook of Robotics / Edited by Bruno Siciliano, Oussama Khatib. 2nd Edition. Cham : Springer International Publishing, 2016.; 2016.
  • Rolf Pfeifer. Understanding Intelligence / Rolf Pfeifer and Christian Scheier ; with Figures by Alex Riegler and Cartoons by Isabelle Follath. (Christian Scheier, ed.). MIT Press; 1999.
  • Fantoni, Isabelle, Lozano, Rogelio, Non-linear Control for Underactuated Mechanical Systems, Springer, 2002

Due to infectious respiratory diseases, the method of teaching for this module may be adjusted to cater for physical distancing and students who are working remotely. Unless otherwise advised, this module will be taught in person.

This module is shared with Part II of the Computer Science Tripos. Assessment will be adjusted for the two groups of students to be at an appropriate level for whichever course the student is enrolled on. Further information about assessment and practicals will follow at the first lecture.