Module ICL-2016:
Automation & Robotics

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to increase learners’ theory and practical application of modern automation and industrial robotics and allow them to program a fully automated cell system to produce components on a CNC machine using coding generated in the Advanced Computer Aided Manufacturing module.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

  • Appraise the impact of automation and robotics on modern industry and future applications in industry.
  • Understand the concepts and principles in automation, robotics and computer vision.
  • Understand the basic principles of robot kinematics, localisation and mapping.
  • Evaluate the different mechanical configurations available for a modern industrial robot
  • Understand the range of types of sensors, actuators and motor hardware used in automation and robotics and their main characteristics.
  • Understand the different software methods for sensory processing and motor control.
  • Program an industrial robot off-line using kinematic simulation software to perform a specified task.
  • Be aware of the safety hazards for automation and robotic applications.
  • Apply machine vision to a given application and set up a machine vision system.
  • Configure hardware (e.g. cameras, robots) and software (e.g. Matlab, robot simulator) tools to solve a practical problem of sensory-motor control, and demonstrate a working system.
  • Develop, test, analyse and evaluate the behaviour of a sensory-motor control system.

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.

Learning outcomes

  1. Explain the history, nomenclature and requirements of automation and robotics.

  2. Operate and program industrial robots.

  3. Relate sensors, actuators and software-controls to the operation of industrial robotics.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY History and Background of the Field Essay

An essay appraising the impact of automation and robotics on modern industry and future applications in industry.

DEMONSTRATION/PRACTICE Prototypes and Practical Work

A collection of machined prototypes.


A set of designs, CNC machines instructions and clear identification of limitations and workarounds for the machining of these parts.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Practical classes and workshops

A series of interactive lectures, seminars, workshops, web-based learning, problem solving exercises, individual and group activities and linked tutorials. Consideration of case study materials, journals and guest speakers will form an important part of the delivery illustrating the application of themes to real-world situations.

Private study

Tutor-directed private study, including preparation.


Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.

Subject specific skills

  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Formulate and analyse requirements and practical constraints of products, processes and services, place them in an engineering context and manage their implementation;
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions.
  • Systematically review factors affecting the implementation of a project, including safety and sustainability;
  • Appreciate the importance of designing products with due regard to good laboratory practice, health and safety considerations and ethical issues.
  • Access and synthesize information and literature sources;
  • Use both verbal and written communication skills to different target audiences;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the need to work safely and comply within relevant legislative and regulatory frameworks;

Courses including this module