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7COM1084 Research Portfolio

Assignment Brief:

As an MSc research student, you are expected to understand how other areas of computer science relate to your chosen specialism. You must have a grasp of significant current open problems in other specialisms, as well as an understanding of how techniques and methods from other research areas can be applied within your specialism.

In this assignment you must provide an overview of two MSc Research specialism lectures (AI / Networking / Cyber Security / Software Engineering / Data Science) which are NOT the specialism you discussed in Assignment 1.

For each of these two areas, you must discuss the research question presented within the relevant specialist lecture for this specialism, propose some research approaches to investigate this question and identify further work you might undertake which builds on this. You must also explore your personal strengths in this area.


Part 1: Robotics AI 

1. Research Specialization Introduction

HRI or Human-Robot Interaction commonly refers to the analysis of knowledge, customizing, and trying to assess robotic frameworks and related mechanisms for utilization by or in conjunction with living creatures. Interplay communication necessitates correspondence among humans and robots. Correspondence between a person and a robot or a robotic system can manifest in many ways, but these aspects are greatly affected by how much proximity the human and the robotic framework are located with respect to one another (Skvortsov et al., 2018). An assistive robot is a gadget that can detect, sequence relevant stimuli, and conduct activities that help handicapped people or the elderly people in their everyday lives. Social appropriateness of these robots is a much-debated topic among the scholars of the modern robotics. Whereas the computer systems and robots must engage with living creatures, slight consideration has been devoted to providing them with social competence. Transportation, control steps, and even game mechanics are quite well-defined activities, so although social reasoning is still primarily a pre-theoretic concern. The researchers demonstrate how MDPs (Markov decision processes) can efficaciously are including interpersonal relationships by justifying iteratively about the goals of other officials. The assignment aims to shed light on the functional social aspects of robots by contrasting them in the light of the existing literature and research approaches. In addition to this, the researcher has also attempted to demonstrate the experience gained from the current assignment.

2. Open research question

Research question

  • Whether a robot can programmed to work with social sensitivity? 

Interactive robots that are widely used as assistive robots are built with a variety of techniques that aid in their social conduct and interaction effectiveness in their relevant field. According to Cresswall et al., (2018), a robot’s sociocultural legitimacy can be evaluated by assessing how it follows the rules and communicates with distinct sociocultural standards. If they contain enough data, interactive robotic systems respond to both conversational and gestural information exchange. A broad range of studies in the areas of HRI has disclosed that a combined effect of configuration and physical features, as well as efficiency in both conversational and gestural information exchange, all contribute to the development of sensory consciousness of robotic systems. For instance, living beings have preferences when it tends to come to pleasant engagement with robotic frameworks and systems, also they chose to implement comparable performance measures to the robot as living beings. It has been discovered that the corporeal presence of rovers, for example, if the rover resembles a living person’s sense of being, can aid in the development of face-to-face interactional justice.  Sentient acknowledgement of robotic systems can be increased by characteristics such as mobile robots, which aids in distributing individual space to humans and establishing satisfactory glancing ranges when necessary. Aside from that, considerations such as glances and head alignment of engaging robotic systems are often utilized to assess their emphasis and the emotional connections they can form with humans. Variables such as civility have no impact on the quality of human communication. Nonetheless, this is viewed as a crucial value in an attempt to establish a favourable influence and customer engagement.

Research problem

Interactive robots’ poor social creditability with respect to user’s disengagement in terms of social behaviours.

3. Existing and related work

With the presentation of the principal modern robots during the 1960s, mechanical innovation was changed into an assembling industry that created intuitive and shared robots. As indicated by Mejia and Kajikaw (2018), as automated innovation has progressed, a few difficulties identified with the assistance space of robots have arisen, including protected and adaptable execution of full independence robots, just as challenges identified with gaining from or with people. To address such difficulties and challenges, it is basic to work on the social validity of intuitive robots by working on their presentation in discourse, signals, or look, which can support normal work process in their individual area. Zhong and Wang (2021), then again, expressed that few procedures, like Situation Awareness Global Assessment Technique and Goal-Directed Task Analysis, have been utilized in the past to work on the quality and access effectiveness of HRI. Additionally, a procedure named GOMS (Goals, Operations, Methods, and Selections) has likewise been taken on in HRI to further develop interface effectiveness. By the by, the issues identified with effortlessness in rotors development, weakness, expressiveness remain issues in diminishing human insights about robotic frameworks.

According to Zhong and Li (2020), in effort to expand the appropriateness of robotic systems among humans, these cohesive obstacles must be ameliorated through the incorporation of organic prompts, envisioning and trying to express emotional responses. Along with the whole, confidence is yet another significant contributor to the effective partnership of robots and humans (Pan et al. 2018). Nonetheless, Welfare et al., (2019), contended that it is not the sole responsibility of robotic systems to collect all of the features that make a significant contribution to favorable social contact. Humans should concentrate on creating meaningful bonds with them in order to foster favourable and immersive associations.

The sociocultural credence of robotic systems makes reference to their trustworthiness and authenticity. According to Boyd and Holton, (2018) social credence of robotic systems and consumer appropriateness are two distinct components. An example of this instance can be a case where the robots lacks mannerism in speech and blocks user speeches. It shows it does have human emotions and demonstrates that it is credible yet not acceptable.

4. Research approach

A preliminary study with 30 participants was used in the case study to understand regarding their reactions to sociologically credible and non-credible robotic systems. Several questionnaire forms have been utilized in this study to assess the potential danger cautions supplied by engaging robotic systems. There were many variables in this study used to assess participants’ perceptions. This study was conducted on an industrial robot house with all attendees, who were notified about wireless monitoring to robots. A kitchen power plug was used to quantify attendees, and a Pepper served as a backup automaton to check for potential dangers (Holthaus et al. 2019).

This pilot study benefited from reactions focused on social legitimacy and security activities performed by robotic systems. It was discovered that participants’ reactions indicated a high level of concern for both the kitchen’s power supply and Pepper. Premised on the review, it is very protected to presume that members don’t really accept that intuitive robots can give well-being. The detriments of this review incorporate the absence of a huge contrast between two viewpoints that are In this review, two robots were viewed as abusing accepted practices (AN) and disregarding accepted practices (VN). Regardless, positive reactions were viewed as higher than positive reactions to VN. Besides, the discoveries of this review have the advantage of understanding individuals’ insights and readiness to react to robot-conveyed admonitions. In this specific circumstance, it was found that most of members reacted emphatically to risks and admonitions conveyed by socially solid robotic systems.

The open question of this research can be answered with clarity with the help of questionnaire surveys. Collecting and collaborating multiple responses from different types of attendees all across the globe can enable a diverse dataset collection. Questionnaire response collection is the easiest process to collect relevant data as it requires less time and money. In addition to this, the questions can be varied and a range of responses can be collected in one survey itself.

5. Personal investment

This study examined importance of the concepts related to robotic systems and their social relevance with quality communication concerns in interactive robotic systems. Numerous obstacles, such as outward appearance, lack of emotional responses in robotic systems, and truthfulness pertaining to participatory automatons, can be addressed using critical questions. Aside from that, the position of techniques such as AI, VR, etc in enhancing the effectiveness of behavioral traits in HRI can be discussed. Furthermore, the open question can be used to obtain information about the benefits and drawbacks of HRI.

The personal experience and strength gained in this research study will aid in the conduct of future research on similar topics. Moreover, each component that adds to immersive robots’ low social legitimacy can be investigated. This encounter can identify more innovations that can be incorporated in HRI to improve their game. Greater understanding of cooperative and engaging robots will aid in prospective in-depth investigation.


Boyd, R., & Holton, R. J. (2018). Technology, innovation, employment and power: Does robotics and artificial intelligence really mean social transformation?. Journal of Sociology54(3), 331-345.

Cresswell, K., Cunningham-Burley, S., & Sheikh, A. (2018). Health care robotics: qualitative exploration of key challenges and future directions. Journal of medical Internet research20(7), e10410.

Mejia, C., & Kajikawa, Y. (2017). Bibliometric analysis of social robotics research: identifying research trends and knowledgebase. Applied Sciences7(12), 1316.

Pan, M., Linner, T., Pan, W., Cheng, H., & Bock, T. (2018). A framework of indicators for assessing construction automation and robotics in the sustainability context. Journal of Cleaner Production182, 82-95.

Skvortsov, E., Bykova, O., Mymrin, V., Skvortsova, E., Neverova, O., Nabokov, V., & Kosilov, V. (2018). Determination of the applicability of robotics in animal husbandry. The Turkish Online Journal of Design Art and Communication8(S-MRCHSPCL), 291-9.

Welfare, K. S., Hallowell, M. R., Shah, J. A., & Riek, L. D. (2019, March). Consider the human work experience when integrating robotics in the workplace. In 2019 14th ACM/IEEE international conference on human-robot interaction (HRI) (pp. 75-84). IEEE.

Zhong, B., & Li, T. (2020). Can pair learning improve students’ troubleshooting performance in robotics education?. Journal of Educational Computing Research58(1), 220-248.

Zhong, B., & Wang, Y. (2021). Effects of roles assignment and learning styles on pair learning in robotics education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education31(1), 41-59.

Part 2: Software Engineering 

1. Introduction

An autonomous vehicle, also known as a self-driving car, is a device that can function and undertake essential functions without human involvement owing to its capacity to detect its exterior environment. An autonomous vehicle employs a completely automated navigation system to adapt to different external conditions that a normal operator would handle (Schwarting et al., 2018). In the frame of reference of AV, the responsibility of software engineering in this regard is to ensure that security metrics are met while operating these automobiles. According to the research study, while the functionality of AV advancement is growing, moral codes pertaining to these automobiles continue to be an important part of social obstacles. The famous Trolley problems, safety issues, and risk balancing are some of the moral issues surrounding AV.

2. Open research question

Research question

  • How to insert ethics in AV systems in the light of software engineering?

Autonomous vehicles were first deployed on UK streets in the 2020s; this trend is expanding, and a few nations, including the UK, are actively participating in vehicle street trials. According to Faisal (2019), independent vehicles can provide benefits to people in a variety of ways. For example, it can reduce around 90% of fender bender deaths, 60% of harmful spills in the environment, travel season of travellers, and can broaden mileage and shoppers’ institutional investors. It has been observed that AV uses less gas and energy while travelling, reducing innate outlays and air pollution. Eventually, the inquiries emerge from the moral elements associated with AV as well as the concerns it can create in reality. Out of all the moral issues, the tramway or the trolley case issue has been identified as one of the most pressing in AV (Rosique et al., 2019).

Besides that, the risks associated with safety issues in AV also influenced the rise of this open question. It has been found that the AV in current time is conducting more accidents compared to the human driving cars although the accidents are less severe (Fleetwood, 2017). Furthermore, in most nations where AVs are authorised, sidewalks and roadways have remained largely unlabelled, adding to the confusion for AV users. Wiseman. (2021) discussed that inconsistency in traffic junctions and highway signboard has caused problems for AV It has been discovered that driverless cars use road markings with the assistance of camera systems that are programmed to pursue the carriageway. Even so, the exclusion of such markers raises ethical concerns by introducing risks into the use of AV.

Research problem

Issues of software engineering that hamper ethics in AV vehicles

3. Existing and related work

The emergence of AV has elevated moral considerations about the communication of AV as well as human drivers in mixed-traffic surroundings. According to Lim (2018), replacing human motorists with self-driving automobiles increases the chances of a collision. Numerous trolley instances of AV can be discussed in this frame of reference, including collisions that resulted in severe damage. For instance, if the trolley is heading underneath a lorry with a  head present and the trolley keeps working in this circumstance, significant damage can result. Himmelreich (2018), on the other side, stated that in the real world, troll instances are extremely rare, and AVs are capable of transferring injury in its most effective manner especially in comparison to how a living person can manage it. The trolley problem is made reference to as a security issue, but it assumes an impractical level of knowledge and technological capacity.

In the case of serious issues caused by trolley challenges, AV can act to reduce risk instead of raising the risk. It has been discovered that when faced with a threat, AV needs to perform to the greatest extent possible and tasks through flexible adaptation.

According to Martino et al., (2021), blueprinting for AV could be regarded as another significant moral problem. Machine learning can be utilised to help AV programmers create problem-solving techniques. To maintain design ethics, programmers can include training data that is required to avoid accident scenarios. Similarly, Takács stated that ethical guidelines should be put in place in AV to address ethical concerns. Engineering ethics are moral rules that designers use when working on AV advancement. Engineers can incorporate factors such as integrity, honesty, public interest, fairness, objectivity, and precision in the frame of reference of professional conduct.

Risk balancing, according to Fleetwood (2017), is just another set of criteria of ethical issues associated in AV and is a statutory necessity that must be affiliated with driverless cars. In an order to decrease risks to health in AV, government agencies can provide guidelines on how to keep risk as low as practically possible (ALARP). Hancock et al. (2019) stated that development company proposals such as identifying the hazards pertaining to security, adhering to the concept of multiple mitigating risk, and so on might help mitigate ethical questions. Aside from that, technological expertise, expense, and available resources are all significant considerations in AV morality.

4. Research approach

The researcher has completed the case study with the assistance of independent sources pertaining to the research. It was discovered that the case study includes numerous journal articles or publications by different authors for studying and analysing the problems that are associated with AV designing. The credible research from the secondary sources has yielded a rich source of data about the lot of computation and meant to reflect on safety business decisions in AV.

In this research case study, the approach of this contextual analysis has advantaged in social affair an assortment of data in regards to the examination region inside a less measure of time and exertion. It has been observed that moral thought in AV designing can be drilled by conveying exact wellbeing and configuration needed for outright execution. To fabricate a moral affirmation case, a cycle structure has been planned in the review. Nonetheless, the greater part of the optional sources utilized for the review is not current which implies they are over 5 years of age, which made an inconvenience with regards to unwavering quality and legitimacy. The examination approach needs quality and ongoing data about moral issues in AV designing (Mordue et al., 2020). By and by, the variables identified with hazard decrease in AV have been found in the review. This examination concentrate on conveying the benefits of understanding the street offices that are huge in decreasing danger for AV. Other than that, it has been observed that various classes of individuals might encounter troubles identified with AV in an unexpected way. Impediments of this examination incorporate an absence of data concerning what designing cycles, strategies can be continued in AV planning that would convey more noteworthy proficiency and decrease critical dangers.

This study could benefit from primary quantitative approach of research using questionnaires and surveys as an alternate solution for the research case study. According to Basl & Behrends, (2020), this the quantitative research focuses on straightforwardly accumulating data on people through collecting data. Conversations for data gathering aid in trying to explain and greater understanding different points of view on the research subject. As a result, conducting interviews with people from the automotive sector and businesses that are presently concentrating on AV will aid in gaining a more in-depth understanding of the ethical factors in AV engineering. Structured questionnaire and surveying about protection problems, trolley problems, and AV design problems would aid in gathering more diverse infromation with better description of the research neighbourhood. The approach of by conducting surveys, the relevant people in the business would be capable of learning whether trolley problem is a significant ethical dilemma in software engineering related to AV vehicles or if it is simply a quandary.

5. Personal investment

The examination of the data pertaining to this specific area of ethical implications in AV mechatronics has aided in the resolution of questions to be answered. The factors identified, such as potential dangers, ineffectual risk stabilising, and trolley issues, have sceptically responded the research questions of the study. Furthermore, its been discovered that the use of artificial intelligence in layout can aid in the reduction of moral considerations.

The pragmatic expertise and experience obtained from this experiment will be useful in future research. The assessment of the supplied research paper will assist in understanding every critical issue affiliated with AV mechatronics. Furthermore, expertise of software engineering and also its application in AV will aid in trying to describe additional problems in such regions.


Basl, J., & Behrends, J. (2020, January). Why everyone has it wrong about the ethics of autonomous vehicles. In Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2019 Symposium. National Academies Press.

Faisal, A., Kamruzzaman, M., Yigitcanlar, T., & Currie, G. (2019). Understanding autonomous vehicles. Journal of transport and land use12(1), 45-72.

Fleetwood, J. (2017). Public health, ethics, and autonomous vehicles. American journal of public health107(4), 532-537.

Himmelreich, J. (2018). Never mind the trolley: The ethics of autonomous vehicles in mundane situations. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice21(3), 669-684.

Lim, H. Y. (2018). Autonomous vehicles and the law: technology, algorithms and ethics. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Martinho, A., Herber, N., Kroesen, M., & Chorus, C. (2021). Ethical issues in focus by the autonomous vehicles industry. Transport Reviews, 1-22.

Mordue, G., Yeung, A., & Wu, F. (2020). The looming challenges of regulating high level autonomous vehicles. Transportation research part A: policy and practice132, 174-187.

Rosique, F., Navarro, P. J., Fernández, C., & Padilla, A. (2019). A systematic review of perception system and simulators for autonomous vehicles research. Sensors19(3), 648.

Schwarting, W., Alonso-Mora, J., & Rus, D. (2018). Planning and decision-making for autonomous vehicles. Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems1, 187-210.

Wiseman, Y. (2022). Autonomous vehicles. In Research Anthology on Cross-Disciplinary Designs and Applications of Automation (pp. 878-889). IGI Global.

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