Image of North Bridge, Halifax, and concrete flyover.

Robotic Challenge 2020: Robots for resilient infrastructure

Cancellation of Robotic Challenge 2020

We regret to announce the cancellation of the Robotic Challenge 2020: Robots for Resilient Infrastructure scheduled for 23-24 June 2020.

We have sadly taken this decision in light of the measures now necessary to control the rapid spread of Covid-19. The health and safety of our participants, attendees, staff and their wider contacts is our primary concern.

Due to the uncertainty as to when travel restrictions will be lifted, this meeting will not be rescheduled. Similarly, we do not believe that it is possible to deliver the event online at the high quality envisaged due to the disruption that everyone will be experiencing at this time.

We are very disappointed to have to take this decision and thank all of those who submitted entries to the challenge for their hard work.

Robotic Challenge 2020, 23 – 24 June 2020, Weetwood Hall Estate, Leeds, UK

‘Robots for resilient infrastructure to reduce disruption, improve worker safety, save money and resources, for a cleaner environment, to make life better.’ 

A two day challenge event demonstrating cutting-edge robots and autonomous systems to create, inspect, repair and maintain our critical infrastructure.

Alongside showcasing technical advances, the event will create a space to discuss the benefits and impacts of adopting such technology, and what we need to do to prepare for the future.

The event will bring those with responsibility for infrastructure, contractors, policy makers and city builders together with researchers and innovators in this area, to create a broad vision of the challenges and opportunities for infrastructure robotics. Applications for such robots cover broad domains including civil infrastructure, transport (road, rail, sea), offshore energy, space, and nuclear.

Cash prizes totalling £5,500 are offered, kindly supported by sponsorship from Anglian Water, Highways England and Synthotech. The challenge is supported by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) through the Grand Challenge of “Balancing the Impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural Systems using Robots” (Self-Repairing Cities). It is organised in collaboration with the UK-RAS Network and UK Robotics Week.

  Synthotech logo

The challenge

The event aims to bring together robotic systems with the potential to address the challenges facing future infrastructure. These may fall under, but are not limited to, the following technological  challenges:

  • Perceive and patch: Vehicles for autonomous inspection, diagnostics, repair and prevention of defects (e.g. potholes).
  • Perch and repair: Remote inspection and maintenance of structures at height (e.g. bridge inspection).
  • Plunge and protect: Autonomous robots with the ability to perform underwater or underground infrastructure inspection repair, and preventive defect maintenance.
  • Fire and forget: Robots designed to operate indefinitely performing inspection, repair, metering and reporting tasks (e.g. robotics operating in live water mains).
  • Construct and confirm: Coordination of robot teams to build/print, finish and certify infrastructure from CAD models, using environmentally friendly building materials.
  • Dismantle and dispose: Advanced manipulation in extreme environments to manipulate, cut, separate and unfasten structures (e.g. infrastructure de-commissioning such as nuclear or wind).
  • Data and decisions: Create, process and interpret data securely for effective, verifiable and trustworthy operation of robots (e.g. robots to remotely augment building information models).

We will also seek to understand how these technologies will integrate into our lives through the challenge:

  • City and society: Building the case for the use of infrastructure robotics, with particular reference to the environment, society, policy and regulation, and future infrastructure needs


Please contact us if you have any queries:

Juliet Jopson
Email: Tel: +44 (0)113 343 32325

Events team
For all general and registration enquiries’ please contact the Faculty of Engineering CPD event team on:
Email: Tel: +44 (0)113 343 2494 / 8104

Dr Bilal Kaddouh, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds

The featured image (top) is of North Bridge, Halifax UK, illustrates some of the kinds of infrastructure that robotic and autonomous systems may help maintain in the future. Reproduced with kind permission of the artist ©Pete Hackney

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Perch & Repair

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Perceive & Patch

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Fire & Forget

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City & Society

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