Dyson to make £5 million investment in robotics research

Entrepreneur and serial inventor Sir James Dyson has announced plans to invest £5 million in a laboratory at Imperial College London developing domestic robots.

A team of scientists at the laboratory will work on robots that could include robotic vacuum cleaners, a long held ambition of Dyson.

"Vision is key to creating a robot that can see and think in the way that humans do," Dyson told The Guardian. "Combining Dyson expertise in motors, electronics and artificial intelligence we hope to create a new generation of intelligent domestic robots."

Dyson's interest in robotics goes back a long way, with some reports suggesting he has been developing robotics for almost 10 years at his company's headquarters.

The most recent winner of the prestigious James Dyson Award was a robotic arm capable of boosting the strength of the person wearing it.

The latest venture by Dyson could potentially rival Google's own plans in developing robotics. The search engine giant has recently made some high profile acquisitions of robotics firms, including Boston Dynamics and UK artificial intelligence startup Deepmind Technologies.

The decision of Deepmind Technologies to sell out to Google led to criticism from Dyson, who said he didn't "quite understand the urge to give up".

"Long-term thinking is essential to new technology," Dyson said. "We should be encouraging UK companies to invest in R&D and take on armies of engineers so that they can grow and become UK world-beaters."

"I've no idea what companies Google intend to buy," he added. "Dyson aren't about to launch a car or a search engine. We are focused on developing technology for domestic robots for the home that logically navigate their surroundings."