From monitoring grapevines to surveying underground mines, Sundance gives precision robotics the edge through KTN collaborations and events

Sundance Multiprocessing Technology Ltd was founded in 1989 with a focus on design, manufacturing and testing of electronics embedded modules, based on a leading-edge multicore technology. This technology allows the infinitive scaling of processing power and provides a large range of sensor interfaces and numerous instances of control functions.

With a small team of twelve people, who cumulatively possess 100s of years of experience, the focus of Sundance is still multiprocessing technology. Their key areas of interest comprise of:

• Vision System and sub-components for safety

• Advanced Sensor technology for monitoring

• Robotics electronics for control and unmanned vehicles

• Deep Learning and Edge-AI

Flemming Christensen founded Sundance, when their first products were designed for the parallel processing market. Many years later, Precision Robotics & Edge-AI has become the new focus and according to Flemming, “is the most interesting technology, in my view, since the beginning of the CPU silicon revolution in the ‘70s.”

Sundance have been involved in several key projects, more recently:

• Development of a Vision, Control & Sensor solution for Precision Robotics as part of the H2020 project, TULIPP.

• Been involved with a robotics project, VineScout, for intelligence gathering in vineyards.

• Began an Innovate UK project, ARISE, for the mining industry in December 2019.

• Involved with a Eurostars funded project called FieldCompanion that will use Edge-AI for Smart Spraying. Details have now been launched here.

To build on their expertise and take Sundance into a new future, the organisation is interested in any collaborations that will take their current precision robotics platform to the next level. Part of this involves streamlining the way Edge-AI solutions are produced for customers to integrate into their existing robotics/automation products. Their other aim is to improve on building high-tech and bespoke electronics in low-volume, but high-value for Sundance, while still being cost-effective to customers.

How did KTN help?

• The size of KTN’s network is impressive, with a balance of broad sector expertise, as well as more niche programmes and activities. This provides a variety of opportunities for companies and organisations to engage with. This is important for an organisation like Sundance as they further expand their product base and sector offerings.

• KTN events have been very useful for Sundance. Flemming has been encouraged to deliver short talks about what Sundance is trying to do with low-cost Edge-AI. Also, having the opportunity and space to physically showcase their technology, while talking and interacting with interested parties.

• These events have also enabled them to connect with collaborators and end users.

• Sundance have participated in a number of H2020 and Innovate UK projects. In particular Lucy Mather (AgriFood) and Liqun Yang (Sensors) have been helping by making key introductions.

• KTN helped connect Sundance with 3 SMEs and Exeter University to work on a new UK-only project about Robotics & Edge-AI, called ARISE. The project involves developing a cost-effective robot for extreme environments, ie. mining, but with potentials in more sectors.

Outcomes

• Collaborations with other SMEs and universities.

• Successful with taking part in H2020 and other publicly funded projects.

• Informing the future of innovation by liaising with KTN about the challenges faced when innovating, e.g: data sets. Information like this is vital to KTN to ensure SME’s can be given the support they require, if possible.

• Active member of the Robotics and AI Innovation Network, which has been established to enable UK RAI innovators to connect, access markets and showcase their capabilities.