Team Interview: Peter Bushell

Peter Bushell, R&D Engineer

Our vision at BotsAndUs is to create a world where robots become a seamless part of society’s fabric. Our team is fully-equipped with all the necessary skills to bring full-stack autonomous robotics technology to market.

We continue our interview series with our colleague, Peter Bushell, who has been with BotsAndUs from the early days and has grown as a professional along with the company and our robots. He is always keen to know and keep those around up to date with emerging technologies and manufacturing techniques that could help optimise our build process.

What is your role at BotsAndUs and what key areas are you working on?

I act as an R&D Engineer at BotsAndUs designing, developing and delivering all the hardware that goes into our robots. The responsibilities in this role vary hugely, from designing in CAD and contacting suppliers to rolling up my sleeves and tearing down a robot to install upgrades.

Because we develop so many of our own bespoke parts, I have the opportunity to take ideas from concept to manufacture on a regular basis. With that, comes a lot of critical analysis of designs from all possible angles. Is this part realistic and cost effective to produce? Is there a simpler, faster way we could do this? How will this affect other components in the robot? These are all questions I must find answers to so we can decide when to outsource and when we can achieve the best results in house.

Why did you choose robotics and what use cases are you most excited about?

I have always had a passion for understanding how products work and I fully embraced the technical challenges of Design Engineering to bring products to life with technology. I don’t think there’s a better field than robotics; machines are built to seamlessly perform tasks and interact with the world around them all while employing the latest technologies. I joined BotsAndUs while still studying Engineering and have grown with the team and our products over the years.

I’m constantly inspired by BotsAndUs’ mission to deliver robots that help people directly. Having seen how the work has changed in the last year, I’m fascinated by the new opportunities we have discovered. I know first hand how any tool or system that effectively solves a real technical challenge is valuable. This is why I believe the use cases around operations will have a meaningful impact.

What new technology or innovation has recently caught your attention?

I’m fascinated by what’s happening with batteries at the moment. It really looks like we are in the cusp of something game changing, especially with the research and funding into solid state batteries from big automotive companies and governments. The advantages they could bring not only for electric cars but also in robotics would open up so many possibilities and allow for electric propulsion to really become the mainstay for transport. The whole product lifecycle will become cleaner and greener. Toyota is already claiming a 500km range with a 10min charging time. It’s insane! Hopefully, this will also become commercially viable. Meanwhile, it’s definitely a space to watch.

What qualities are most important to perform well in your field?

I think creativity comes into everything we do in the R&D department. Although more obvious in the process of designing new parts, creativity is also vital in the more technical aspects such as generating tool paths for the CNC machines. You really have to fully understand the capabilities of the machines and the tools at your disposal to come up with the best way to produce parts. From the initial design and how you will hold the workpiece to imagining how the tool will extract the material, this very technical process requires a lot of creative thought to deliver the best possible results. Experience and a strong theoretical understanding of materials and processes are essential but I think that creativity and being able to effectively implement your knowledge is what really sets you apart.

I was once told a great engineer simplifies everything. It’s very easy to solve problems by adding more: more features, more material, more manufacturing processes. And with this comes added complexity and more opportunities for things to go wrong. Achieving the same results with a simpler design will always be beneficial and achieving this ‘less is more’ philosophy is a real talent.

If you’re interested in joining our team, please check our careers page here for any job vacancies. Join the robotics revolution!