This technology is the result of collaborative effort between experts in robotics research, software engineering, UI/UX design, quality assurance, standards compliance, and technical authoring. With this melting pot of experience, RACE is developing CorteX to help other teams all over the globe, both in industry and academia, who are facing complex interoperability challenges.
The original vision for CorteX came from Robert Skilton (UKAEA Robotics Fellow) in 2013. Matthew Goodliffe (Lead Technologist) continued the project in 2014 and was joined by Dr Ipek Caliskanelli (Senior Robotics Research Engineer) in 2017, together completing the vision and taking it from research project to tangible product.
Matthew and Ipek assembled an A-Team of senior engineers - Craig Whiffin and Michael Xymitoulias, who at the time were working on competing projects. With the addition of Melloney Luckhurst and her creative UX/UI expertise, the team designed the software architecture and modernised its HMI.
The CorteX team is highly flexible, using agile methodologies and has a natural ability to communicate. Either in person or remotely (especially over the course of the pandemic) the team has always been able to balance efficient interfacing with friendly informal conversation, resulting in high productivity with minimal pressure.
Both the team, and CorteX were put to the test in Sellafield’s ‘Grand Challenges’ scheme. Over two, high-pressure days, the team successfully performed a complex, unseen task involving multiple robots and cameras, all without interrupting the logic. They demonstrated that their software – developed for future Fusion Energy robotics – is impactful in pressing, real-world scenarios like nuclear decommissioning.
Cortex has been adopted by many other teams at RACE as a control system, and the project has an excellent reputation as a supportive environment for new hires and Graduates. The team continues to collaborate effectively both within RACE and with external organisations. At present, they are transferring critical knowledge and CorteX’s technology to the clean-up operation at Fukushima Daiichi power plant.