Bristol Robotics Laboratory is a collaborative partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) and the University of Bristol, and is the largest academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. The Robotics Innovation Facility is housed in BRL’s state-of-the-art laboratory, which covers an area of over 3,000 square metres, and is located on UWE’s Frenchay Campus to the north of the city of Bristol. The RIF is equipped with a number of robots, vision systems and other items of automation. BRL also houses laboratories and spaces for work in areas of assisted living, machine vision, human robot interaction, sensor development and sensor applications in surgery, swarm robotics, microbial fuel cells etc. One of the largest European indoor arenas for flying Miniature UAVs is located within BRL. A well-equipped workshop with additive layer manufacturing machines, machine tools and electronic benches etc. provides support for many of the research projects. Three dedicated personnel service the RIF and support its offerings with additional assistance provided by the BRL technical support team and other engineers and scientists employed in the laboratory, and the university at large, as and when required. Bristol Robotics Laboratory is also responsible for the coordination of activities of RIFs in SSSA, Pisa, CEA, Paris and BRL, Bristol.

Key areas of research and engagement

Bristol Robotics Laboratory’s RIF will provide access to equipment and expertise to assist with:

  • Estimating and analysing market size for new products, services or a processes
  • Design of novel end-effectors and sensors
  • Proof of concept demonstrations in novel robot application areas
  • Integration of robotic systems in manufacturing, health, training, entertainment etc.
  • Human/machine interface and robot programing
  • Requirement analysis and concept demonstration in the field of Assisted Living and Medical Robotics
  • Application and demonstration of robotics in agriculture, horticulture and food production

Bristol RIF is currently running a series of Beta trials in preparation for the formal launch of the ECHORD++ program in the second quarter of 2014. These trials have included participants from startup companies in gaming and entertainment, established consumer product companies, educational establishments etc. The projects have addressed areas of end-effector design and proof of concept, assistance with design of controller for gaming robots, preparation of parts for teaching robots etc. The Beta trials will test the various interfaces with the potential clients, liaisons, definition of performance metrics, scheduling etc.

As part of our continued dialogue with potential new users of robotics and automation, a number of workshops will be presented over the next five years. The first workshop, “An Introduction to Mechatronics” took place on 21st January and is to be followed with sessions on Intellectual Property & Finance in March and a two day workshop on Robotics in April 2014.


The facility will provide the following hardware and software:



  • A Rethink Robotics Baxter Robot with associated conveyor (this machine may also be mounted on a mobile platform for use in applications requiring a mobile robot)
  • A 80kg payload capacity 6 axis industrial robot with integrated force/torque sensor (to be operational by 3rd quarter 2014)
  • A large twin arm gantry robot with payload capacity of 200kg per arm (to be operational mid 2015)
  • A 3 kg payload IRB 120 ABB industrial robot
  • A mobile platform mounted fully sensored robot for medical and assisted living applications
  • National Instrumnet data logging and instrumentation equipment


  • Computer aided design and analysis software
  • Robot simulation software
  • Data logging and statistical analysis software
  • Modelling software for control


  • Market analysis
  • Access to workshops and rapid prototyping equipment

This list is provisional and will be expanded in due course.

Background to BRL RIF

Bristol Robotics laboratory is located in the South West of England. This area has one of the largest concentration of aerospace industries in Europe. Moreover, the microelectronics sector plays a significant role in employment and commerce in and around Bristol. The area also has three major universities and a number of colleges. This locale therefore has access to a large research and development capacity supported by a large population of highly trained engineers and scientists. Bristol Robotics Laboratory is home to over 150 researchers and engineers supporting robotics and automation research.

The laboratory is situated close to three motorways and is within a short walk from the mainline train station at Parkway and about half hour car travel from Bristol International airport.

If you have any further questions please contact the BRL staff via





august, 2017

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