Home » UK’s National Robotarium names Professor Oliver Lemon as new co-academic lead

UK’s National Robotarium names Professor Oliver Lemon as new co-academic lead

by Liam Turner
Oliver Lemon, co-academic lead, National Robotarium

The UK’s National Robotarium has appointed Professor Oliver Lemon as its new co-academic lead.

Professor Lemon, whose background is focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI), brings years of experience developing machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) models to the role.

Current projects being led by Professor Lemon include SPRING, based at the facility’s state-of-the-art HRI labs, which is developing socially assistive robotics to perform multi-person interactions in complex environments.

A former Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University and the University of Edinburgh, and Visiting Scientist at NASA, Professor Lemon has extensive experience working with industry.

He has led national and international research projects with partners such as PAL Robotics, SoftBank, France Telecom, and BMW, and is chief AI officer and co-founder of the conversational AI company Alana AI.

Professor Lemon has also supervised three student teams in the Amazon Alexa Simbot Challenge, an AI competition focused on conversational agents.

His appointment follows the departure of Professor Helen Hastie, who has held the position – alongside incumbent Professor Yvan Petillot – since 2020, overseeing the research strategy of the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence centre, based at Heriot-Watt University.

‘A natural successor’

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Lemon said: “I’m delighted to join the National Robotarium as its new co-academic lead and continue its work developing science-led robotics and AI solutions to address people’s needs.

”As a co-founder of Alana AI, I understand how to bridge the gap between science and industry and move academic research from labs to market, a core delivery theme at the National Robotarium.

“I look forward to playing a strategic role supporting its mission to advance the adoption of robotics and AI to help people at work and at home.”

He added: “I’m particularly excited to bring the latest advances in Foundation Models and Large Language Models such as ChatGPT into robotics.”

Stewart Miller, chief executive officer at the National Robotarium, said: “I’m very pleased to welcome Oliver to the National Robotarium as our new co-academic lead.

“His extensive experience into language models for robotics, as well as his many years of research into how humans interact with robots, make him a natural successor to Professor Hastie, and I’m keen to work with him to develop the next generation of robotics using safe and responsible AI.”

Image: Oliver Lemon, co-academic lead, National Robotarium. Credit: National Robotarium

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