Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

Artificial Intelligence

Smart Cities: all hype or a platform for change?

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 19 August 2019

The third episode of the Create the Future podcast is out now! Joining us this month to discuss what our future cities might look like are Larissa Suzuki, senior product manager for automatic machine learning at ORACLE, and honorary associate professor at UCL; and Andrew Comer, director of the cities business unit at BuroHappold Engineering.

In this month’s episode, Smart Cities: all hype or a platform for change?, we look back on the technological and economic successes of the 2012 Olympic Games; debate the implications of using people’s data to improve city infrastructure; and highlight the need to ensure that smart city technology is developed to be inclusive, not a commodity. Click below to hear more!

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How AI and automation will shape the future of agriculture

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 8 May 2019

Close-up photo of the Mamut robot travelling along a path between rows of bush or tree-looking crops demonstrating its use in agriculture

The agriculture industry is fundamental to securing a sustainable future for humanity. Few other sectors have such enormous potential to benefit the planet in the face of population increase, resource depletion, and climate change.

For some observers, the focus on agriculture pertains to the simple concern of feeding 9.8 billion people from a static (or worse: declining) arable land base. For others, the focus lies more on the quality of our soils, watercourses and ecosystems, and their ability to support life or sequester carbon.

Regardless, the basic mathematical realities of our finite land mass and the competing demands upon it – rapidly changing weather patterns and increasing rates of consumption – lay bare a stark challenge: producing more food from less land, with less waste, lower inputs, and lower environmental burden. According to estimates, we need to produce as much food in the next four decades as we have produced, so far, in the entire history of agriculture – some 10,000 years.

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Future of AI – less artificial, more intelligent (part two)

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 25 March 2019

Discussing Intelligence – the image shows text “Future of AI – less artificial, more intelligent (part two)”. To the left of the text is an abstract depiction of AI that uses neuron-looking fibers swirling around a central, circular nucleus.Artificial intelligence, robotics, and the pursuit of autonomous systems that we can trust.

In part one, Beyond Limits CTO Mark James sets the scene for new developments at the intersection of AI and robotics. In part two, he describes how cognitive intelligence moves to the extreme edge, and provides cautionary guidance for humans to remain in control of artificial intelligence as it grows in power and capability.

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Future of AI – less artificial, more intelligent (part one)

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 21 March 2019

Image shows text “Future of AI – less artificial, more intelligent (part one)”. To the right of the text is an abstract depiction of AI that uses neuron-looking fibers swirling around a central, circular nucleus.Artificial intelligence, robotics, and the pursuit of autonomous systems that we can trust.

Part one of two articles about robotics and AI by Mark James, who spent 30 years developing advanced software systems for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and is now CTO of Beyond Limits, an AI engineering company in southern California.


Intelligence is a rare and valuable commodity. From the mysterious brain of the octopus and the swarm intelligence of ants, to Go-playing deep learning machines and driverless vehicles – intelligence is the most powerful and precious resource in existence. Despite recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that enable it to win games and drive cars, there are countless untapped opportunities for advanced technology to have a significant and beneficial impact on the world. Particularly so at the intersection of AI and robotics.

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Feeding the world with AI

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 29 October 2018

Image of the Yield's smartphone app being used on a farm

When we hear about food waste, we tend to think of wastage at the consumer side of things – the bag of half-eaten salad mix you guiltily throw out every week, the enormous meal at a restaurant you couldn’t finish, or your parents sternly reminding you of the ‘starving children around the world’ as you pick at your peas.

Food loss and wastage, however, is a pervasive issue at all stages along the food supply chain from production and storage through to transport and consumption.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) claims that one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally – equal to around 1.3 billion tonnes annually.

While consumer-side efforts have been launched in recent years to combat this issue (such as ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetable campaigns, and apps that let consumers buy cheap food from cafes before it gets binned), there’s an opportunity to combat the issue on the production-side by harnessing AI and machine learning (ML) technology.

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The path to superintelligence – applications for AI

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 22 October 2018

Image of a young girl holding the hand of a robot.

In 2018 it’s hard to go a week without seeing an AI innovation making the news headlines. Just last week, NEX Team (a mobile intelligence company) released HomeCourt – an iOS app that combines your smartphone camera with artificial intelligence to count, track, and chart basketball shots in real-time. The app allows players to self-analyse and improve their performance, and has the potential to transform the way that athletes train. While HomeCourt represents niche applications of AI, engineers’ continued development of artificial intelligence(s) across various industries could revolutionise everything from aerospace technology and healthcare through to civil construction work and lifestyle activities. As such, we aim to explore where AI stands in 2018, where its development is heading, as well as the implications for when we get there.

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Machine learning and AI – ensuring fairness in smart cities

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 11 October 2018

Digital technologies and AI offer a new wave of opportunities to turn data into actionable insights – creating a balance between social, environmental, and economic opportunities.

In 2018, it’s safe to say that the Internet, the World Wide Web, and the myriad of technologies derived from their development are all here to stay. With the ceaseless amalgamation of these various innovations, engineers are creating a cyber-physical world where pervasively interconnected objects, things, and processes can potentially unlock a breadth of unprecedented opportunities. However, I should point out that encapsulating the entire medley of possibilities afforded by these technologies is a considerable endeavour requiring a far longer and more comprehensive overview – perhaps in the form of a book, or three – than this article can offer in isolation. As such, I’ll concentrate on something closer to my own work: smart cities. More specifically, I’ll be focusing on the potential for us to optimally – and transparently – manage and operate city-wide infrastructure.

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