Undergraduate Course

BEng Robotic Engineering

Now In Clearing
BEng Robotic Engineering

Overview

The details
Robotic Engineering
H615
October 2018
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

Robots are increasingly important in our society. They are used in autonomous driving, domestic assistance, health care, industrial manufacturing, search and rescue operations, and hazardous environment exploration and monitoring.

Our BEng Robotic Engineering will equip you with the knowledge and skills to contribute to this rapidly-changing and innovative industry, or to academic research in the area. The course uniquely combines electrical engineering and computer science, allowing you to gain both theoretical and practical knowledge in areas such as navigation, motion control, sensory perception, autonomous decision making, and machine learning, so that you can develop your own robotic systems.

High programming skills are developed on this course, as well as essential knowledge of areas of robotics and artificial intelligence. Your course therefore covers areas including:

  • Java and C++ programming
  • Sensors, motion control algorithms, and high level cognition in robotic systems
  • Computer vision and digital signal processing
  • Artificial intelligence and intelligent agents
  • Computer games modules

Based in our world-class research lab facilities, you will be able to obtain hands on experience, test your inventions, and engage in the state of the art robotic research.

Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. Today’s robotics engineers are creative people who are focused and committed, yet restless and experimental. We are home to many of the world’s top engineers, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence.

Why we're great.
  • Develop your own robotics systems, using our world-class robot arena to test your inventions.
  • We are home to many of the world's top engineers, who are researching artificial intelligence, autonomous navigation, and human-machine interaction.
  • We are Top 20 for Electronic Engineering (TGUG 2018).

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation, where you learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

We have been one of the leading electronics departments in the country throughout our history, and in recent years, our prolific research staff have contributed to some major breakthroughs.

Our robotics and embedded systems research group works on interdisciplinary research that combines artificial intelligence, embedded systems architecture and technology, sensors and data fusion, autonomous navigation, planning and human-machine interaction.

We research a wide variety of areas, from new drone technology, environment and pollution monitoring to healthcare aids (such as the wheelchair robot and robotic prosthetics). Students will have the opportunity to be involved with current research in their final year projects.

Specialist facilities

Our new unique Robotics Gaming Laboratory offers dedicated space for indoor robots and has 24 VICON cameras for racing car tracking. Our Robot Arena is one hundred square metres in area and has a six metre high ceiling to accommodate flying robots. It has one of the world's largest powered lab floors for long-duration experiments with mobile robots.

We have invested over £1 million in equipping this state-of-the-art facility with robotic systems which include:

  • thirty wheeled mobile robots
  • eight flying robots
  • three robotic fish
  • three intelligent wheelchairs
  • one robotic arm
  • one robotic hand with five fingers

We also have six laboratories that are exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress.

All computers run either Windows 7 or are dual boot with Linux, and software includes Java, Prolog, C++, Perl, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Project.

Your future

Prepare for your future. Robotics and autonomous systems was recognised as one of the eight great technologies by the UK government in 2013. It was estimated the market for both industrial and service robots will be worth more than $66bn by 2025.

As a graduate of our BEng Robotic Engineering, you will be well-placed to take advantage of the growing demand in this area. This is a broad and ever-changing field of study; you will always be learning throughout your career, through following research and trade journals, attending conferences, and working on new research yourself as you create the robots of the future. And an incredible 91% of our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students are in professional employment or postgraduate study within six months of graduating from Essex (DLHE 2016).

Being a robotics engineer means that you could be working on humanoid robotic toys, animatronics equipment for amusement parks, robotic equipment for defusing landmines in war-stricken countries, or robots for space and deep sea exploration.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • National Instruments
  • Circad Design Ltd
  • McLaren Formula One Team
  • B&W Group
  • BT
  • IBM
  • Visa
  • Google
  • Microsoft

Our department has a large pool of external contacts, ranging from companies providing robots for the media industry, through vehicle diagnostics, to electronic system design and circuit design and manufacture, who work with us and our students to provide advice, placements and eventually graduate opportunities.

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

If you have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2018 entry through Clearing. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Introduction to Programming

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of computer programming. After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and concepts that underlie the procedural programming model, explain and make use of high-level programming language features that support control, data and procedural abstraction. Also, they will be able to analyse and explain the behaviour of simple programs that incorporate standard control structures, parameterised functions, arrays, structures and I/O.

View Introduction to Programming on our Module Directory

Object-Oriented Programming

Want to become a Java programmer? Topics covered in this module include control structures, classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, interfaces, file I/O, event handling, graphical components, and more. You will develop your programming skills in supervised lab sessions where help will be at hand should you require it.

View Object-Oriented Programming on our Module Directory

Introduction to Databases

Databases are everywhere. They are employed in banking, production control and the stock market, as well as in scientific and engineering applications. For example, the Human Genome Project had the goal of mapping the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up human DNA. The result is a genome database. This module introduces the underlying principles of databases, database design and database systems. It covers the fundamental concepts of databases, and prepares the student for their use in commerce, science and engineering.

View Introduction to Databases on our Module Directory

Web Development

The aim of this module is to provide students with an introduction to the principles and technology that underlie internet applications and the techniques used in the design and construction of web sites. Students showcase their skills by designing and building both client and server components of a data driven web site.

View Web Development on our Module Directory

Network Fundamentals

This module introduces the fundamentals of networking including wiring and configuration of switches and routers and associated subnetting. Laboratory sessions give practical hands on experience in our purpose built networking lab. The module uses the Cisco CCNA exploration Network Fundamentals course which is the first of four Cisco courses that can be used to obtain a Cisco CCNA qualification and participants will gain the CCNA1 qualification whilst on this course.

View Network Fundamentals on our Module Directory

Mathematics for Electronics and Telecommunications

The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the role of artificial neural networks (ANNs) in computer science and artificial intelligence.

View Mathematics for Electronics and Telecommunications on our Module Directory

Team Project Challenge

This module introduces students to three key aspects of professional development. These are product development, team work, and project management. In teams of six you work throughout the year to develop a performance for a Nao robot, with a Python module at the core of the product. Apart from the core skills you also learn about contextual issues such as intellectual Property (IP), sustainability, ethical issues, and health & safety. The module is a great opportunity to build a product in a team of fellow students and have that wonderful feeling of having created something original.

View Team Project Challenge on our Module Directory

Fundamentals of Digital Systems

Computers, embedded systems, and digital systems in general have become an essential part of most people's lives, whether directly or indirectly. The aim of this module is to introduce the software and hardware underpinnings of such systems at an introductory yet challenging level suitable for future computer scientists and engineers. Topics covered in the module include both top-view as well as bottom-view approaches to understanding digital computers. They range from the more theoretical (e.g., state machines, logic circuits, and von Neumann's architecture) to the more practical (e.g., how transistors produce binary signals, operating system functions, memory management, and common hardware devices). The module also includes problem solving classes in which a guided discussion of weekly exercises is aimed at giving the student an opportunity to consolidate his/her understanding of the topics involved. Upon completion of this module, students should have a good conceptual and practical understanding of the nature and architecture of digital computer systems and their components.

View Fundamentals of Digital Systems on our Module Directory

Application Programming

This module extends the students' knowledge and skills in object-oriented application programming by a treatment of further Java language principles and of important Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The Java Collections API is explored in some more detail with emphasis on how to utilise these classes to best effect. A particular focus will be on the interaction with databases (e.g. via JDBC) and on writing secure applications.

View Application Programming on our Module Directory

Data Structures and Algorithms

Data structures and algorithms lie at the heart of Computer Science as they are the basis for the efficient solution of programming tasks. In this module, students will study core algorithms and data structures, as well as being given an introduction to algorithm analysis and basic computability.

View Data Structures and Algorithms on our Module Directory

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will be a great driver of change in the coming decades. This module provides an introduction to three fundamental areas of artificial intelligence: search, knowledge representation, and machine learning. These underpin all more advanced areas of artificial intelligence and are of central importance to related fields such as computer games and robotics. Within each area, a range of methodologies and techniques are presented, with emphasis being placed on understanding their strengths and weaknesses and hence on assessing which is most suited to a particular task.

View Artificial Intelligence on our Module Directory

Robotics

The robots are fast becoming part of our daily lives, autonomous cars will drive themselves, drones will deliver packages, and underwater vehicles will explore the oceans. This module covers fundamental knowledge on sensing, navigation, localisation, motion control, and decision making involved in most robotic platforms. You will be able to construct and program LEGO robots using Java language to perform a range of tasks.

View Robotics on our Module Directory

Engineering Mathematics

Need to build on your mathematical knowledge? Want to apply mathematical skills to engineering? Study the fundamental mathematics for engineering, covering topics like integral transform theory, probability theory, and numerical integration. Gain experience of using Matlab software to understand and solve problems.

View Engineering Mathematics on our Module Directory

Control theory and practice

This module introduces the fundamental knowledge of modern control theory in order to solve complex control problems. It covers dynamic system modelling, MATLAB simulation, stability analysis, controller design, and optimal state controllers and observers. The focus is on theories and techniques in both time and frequency of domains for linear control systems. The module will give you a solid foundation for understanding the principle and operation of control systems, and their potential real-world applications.

View Control theory and practice on our Module Directory

C Programming and Embedded Systems (optional)

The overall goal of this module is to provide you with an understanding of how programs are written in C (a computer programming language) to solve engineering problems. Learn how to program an embedded microprocessor in C and how to design embedded mircroprocessor systems as solutions to various problems. Explore the design input and output modules for an embedded system.

View C Programming and Embedded Systems (optional) on our Module Directory

Individual Capstone Project Challenge

The highlight of our undergraduate degree courses is the individual capstone project. This project module provides students with the opportunity to bring together all the skills they have gained during their degree and demonstrate that they can develop a product from the starting point of a single 1/2 page description, provided either by an academic member of staff or an external company. In all the student spends 450 hours throughout the academic year, reporting to their academic tutor, and in the case of company projects, to a company mentor. All projects are demonstrated to external companies on our Project Open Day.

View Individual Capstone Project Challenge on our Module Directory

Mobile Robotics

Interested in designing, programming and evaluating AI robots? To understand the potential applications for AI in the real world? Study different approaches to the use of AI robotics, along with associated design methodologies. Gain practical experience of building your own autonomous mobile robots and intelligent machines, from sensing to action.

View Mobile Robotics on our Module Directory

Computer Vision

Computer vision is the discipline that tries to understand the content of images and videos. It has an extraordinarily wide range of applications; well-known ones include inspection on production lines, reading number plates, mixing live and computer-generated action in movies, and recognising faces. However, researchers are working on applications such as driverless cars, building 3D models from photographs, robot navigation, gaming interfaces, and automated medical diagnosis -- in fact, whenever you as a human looks at the world and try to understand what you see is fair game for computer vision. This module introduces you to the principles of computer vision through a series of lectures and demonstrations. You have an opportunity to learn how to use these principles and algorithms on real-world vision problems in the associated laboratories using the industry-standard toolkit, OpenCV.

View Computer Vision on our Module Directory

High-Level Games Development (optional)

This course covers the fundamentals of games development, with special emphasis on 3D games and the Unity Game Engine. In this practical course, with many code samples and exercises, you'll learn how to implement a complete 3D game in Unity, including all aspects of game development: User input, 3D models and animations, physics, camera, audio, lights, terrains, graphical user interfaces and artificial intelligence. No previous game development experience is needed, although having previous programming knowledge is strongly advised (all programming will be done in C#).

View High-Level Games Development (optional) on our Module Directory

Advanced Embedded Systems Design (optional)

Embedded systems have become more pervasive and powerful to take on truly sophisticated functions in recent years. When facing with the rapid technical updating and complicated market requirements, the designers have to use advanced design techniques to deal with the complexity. In this module, you will gain the experience of full embedded system design process, and the fundamental knowledge on hardware components and real time programming. The hand-on practice helps your understanding of embedded system design process.

View Advanced Embedded Systems Design (optional) on our Module Directory

Digital Signal Processing (optional)

This module aims at introducing students to digital processing techniques, including sampling and analysis of digital signals, signal conditioning, the design of digital filters, and digital signal processing applications. Discrete signals and systems are studied, with an emphasis on the Fourier and Z-transforms that are necessary for the analysis of discrete signals and design of digital filters.

View Digital Signal Processing (optional) on our Module Directory

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Courses are taught by a combination of lectures, laboratory work, assignments, and individual and group project activities
  • Group work
  • A significant amount of practical lab work will need to be undertaken for written assignments and as part of your learning

Assessment

  • You are assessed through a combination of written examinations and coursework
  • All our modules include a significant coursework element
  • You receive regular feedback on your progress through in-term tests

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£14,020

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018
  • Saturday, October 27, 2018

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

We want you to throw yourself in at the deep end, soak up life and make the most of those special Essex moments.

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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