What is AIMS?

What is AIMS?

AIMS is a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in the area of “Autonomous Intelligent Machines and Systems” (AIMS).

CDTs are four-year graduate training and research programmes, with core funding from EPSRC (the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of the Research Councils of the UK). The first year provides training at graduate level, with courses, projects and skills. In years 2-4 students undertake the substantive research project which forms the core of their DPhil (PhD).


In the next decades our society will be revolutionised by Autonomous, Intelligent Machines and Systems which can learn, adapt and act independently of human control.  There is an exciting and timely opportunity to develop these technologies for sectors as diverse as energy, transport, environment, manufacturing and aerospace.  In transport, for example, we will eventually have cars that can drive themselves, interacting safely with other road users and using roads efficiently; in energy we will have smart grids, intelligently acting to help maintain energy security for years to come; in manufacturing & industry, intelligent systems will cut waste in industrial processes; in aerospace we will have an increasing reliance on smart systems, from planning to energy efficient control.

The University of Oxford has a world-class reputation in the underpinning technologies of AIMS.  Graduates have gone on to become entrepreneurs, taking leading roles in industry and commerce or continued their careers in academia.  Recognising the strength of our research and teaching in this area and the potential for future breakthroughs, the departments of Engineering Science and Computer Science were awarded the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), which provides the focus for the development of these new technologies. Our research combines academic training with industry-initiated projects and integrates fundamental theory with hands-on practice.

The aim of the CDT is to train world-class cohorts of researchers in the theory and practice of a new generation of autonomous, intelligent machines and systems. Training is provided in four interconnected skills areas, the synthesis of which is key to building autonomy in AIMS applications.

Robotics, Vision and Perception: Enabling autonomous systems to identify and interpret complex scenes, from moving vehicles to human activity and form robust situation assessments to enable appropriate action and decision making.

Machine Intelligence & Multi-Agent Systems: Making machine autonomy and intelligence ubiquitous; allowing machines to discreetly pervade the world around us and assist us.

Control & Verification: Developing effective techniques to monitor and control intelligent machines, such as those used in manufacturing, transportation and biosensing/healthcare systems, and to ensure their safety and dependability.

M2M, Secure Sensing & Actuation: Realise the vision of connecting intelligent devices seamlessly and everywhere and to allow them to share their sensing, monitoring and actuating capabilities.