Published: 23 May 2014

Postcard: Dr Matt Webster working with NASA and Nissan in San Francisco

Matt Webster

Dr Matt Webster is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Computer Science and a member of the Centre for Autonomous Systems Technology:

“I am currently working on the Trustworthy Robotic Assistants project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which aims to ensure that robotic systems being developed to assist people can really be trusted.

“Robots are increasingly being developed to serve as active “helpers” in situations where people require assistance to undertake certain tasks. Therefore, people need to be confident that robots can participate in sophisticated interactions with humans in a safe and trustworthy manner.

“As part of my research I travelled to Silicon Valley in California to discuss the collaborative research we are conducting with NASA Ames Research Center.

Whilst I was there I met with Dr Neha Rungta and her team of researchers with whom we are working to develop state-of-the-art methods to exhaustively analyse software for use in autonomous systems. Examples of autonomous systems include robots for assisted living, driverless cars and autonomous aircraft.

“The University of Liverpool and NASA Ames Research Center are at the forefront of this research, and are working together to develop new methods of software analysis. A recent University of Liverpool graduate, Dr. Richard Stocker, is currently out in California working with NASA Ames Research Center on this area of research.

“During my visit, I also met with the Director of Nissan Research Center, Dr. Maarten Sierhuis. Nissan are very active in research for autonomous road vehicles (driverless cars) and are committed to developing such vehicles for sale in the next decade.

“University of Liverpool researchers are at the forefront of verification and validation for such autonomous systems, and we are currently discussing a potential collaboration with Dr. Sierhuis’s team at Nissan.

“Finally, whilst I was in California, I had the opportunity to present a paper at the AAAI Spring Symposium 2014. My paper describes the latest research by the Universities of Liverpool and Hertfordshire on the verification and software analysis of the Care-O-bot personal robotic assistant. This is part of the Trustworthy Robotic Assistants project.”

For more information on the Trustworthy Robot Assistants project, please see

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