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Custom built robots to solve real world problems

Our Team

Robert Richardson

Robert Richardson is Professor of Robotics at the University of Leeds. He is principal investigator and Director of the EPSRC National Facility for Innovative Robotic systems. He is also the director of the Multi-disciplinary Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation at the University of Leeds and a Fellow of the IMechE. He is a founder of Acuity Robotics, a recent spin out company from the University of Leeds. He is also chair of the EPSRC UKRAS network.

In 2011 he led an international team to develop and deploy robots into the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, that discovered writing hidden for 4000 years. He is researching into to a broad range of infrastructure robotics platforms including drone based technologies, novel ground robots including robots designed to enter bore holes in mines and other confined spaces. He is developing novel approaches to fabricate advanced robotic structures using hybrid 3D printing and assembly processes.

Chengxu Zhou

Dr. Chengxu Zhou is currently a Lecturer in Mobile Robotics at the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds. He received his PhD degree in Robotics in 2016 from the Italian Institute of Technology. He has been actively working on intelligent motion generation for legged robots with current focus on the dynamic motion planning/control of articulated robots using optimization & machine learning technologies.

Jordan Boyle

Dr Jordan Boyle is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds. Most of his research relates to developing robust robotic systems capable of operating independently in complex and challenging environments. He has a particular interest in biologically-inspired solutions and has previously worked on modelling neural locomotion control in the nematode C. elegans and applying this understanding to the control of snake-like robots. His current work includes miniature pipe inspection robots, burrowing robots for installing underground cables, robotic multi-axis 3D printing and a variety of smaller projects.

Ornella Iuorio

Ornella Iuorio is Associate Professor of Architecture and Structures at the University of Leeds. Her research interest is the field prefabrication and automation in construction. She is working in understanding how technologies such as 3D-printing and robotics can be applied to improve construction processes. Her recent work explores possibilities to digitally design, fabricate and assemble complex geometries through lightweight collaborative robots.

Briony Thomas

Briony Thomas is a Lecturer in Design Science at the University of Leeds, with a joint appointment between the School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Design. She is deputy director of the Institute of Design Robotics and Optimisation and leads the STE(A)M research group, focusing on creativity and innovation in STEM. Her interdisciplinary research combines approaches from the arts and sciences, with a particular focus on geometric structures and design processes. Recent projects have related to paper folding for robotics, digital prototyping and new technologies in the product development process.

Jongrae Kim

Jongrae Kim is an Associate Professor in Aerospace Systems Engineering, the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds and a senior member of the IEEE. His research areas are control engineering & aerospace engineering.

His theoretical parts research cover robustness analysis, optimal control, uncertainty identification, nonlinear estimation, Boolean dynamics, and dynamic system modelling & identification. His application areas include unmanned aerial vehicle mission planning, underwater vehicle navigation, CubeSat satellite attitude control system design & analysis, systems/synthetic biology, and human brain modelling using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging).

Bilal Kaddouh

Dr Bilal Kaddouh is a Lecturer in Aerial Robotics, at the University of Leeds, focusing on the design of autonomous aerial robots that inspect structures and perform structural maintenance in flight. He leads the academic part of the University of Leeds H&S drone policy.

He is a certified drone pilot with 7 years’ experience and licensed for commercial drone operations in the University. He has wide experience in autonomous UAS development and operation and has been involved in numerous flight tests in UK and Internationally. He is interested in developing UAS technologies for emergency response, BVLOS operations, precision agriculture and atmospheric studies.

Shaun Whitehead

Shaun is still motivated by his childhood passion to explore and discover new things. 

Early in life he realised that designing and building his own tools was a route to discovery and adventures.  The exploration technology machines and devices that Shaun has created have taken him to the four corners of the world, where he has watched things he has built go hurtling off to deep space and Mars, and crawled along dark stone passageways in search of historical finds.

In order to explain what he does, Shaun had to invent his own term – “creationeer”.  This involves using his skills, experience, logic and creativity, combined with formal archaeological, historical, science and engineering approaches. With this toolkit, Shaun plans, designs, leads and executes world-class missions of discovery.

Andy Barber

Andy Barber is a post doctorate researcher at the University of Leeds. Andy studied his Undergraduate and Masters Degrees at the University in Mechatronics and Robotics. After spending a year working in industry, he returned in 2013 to undertake his PhD in Mechanical Engineering, developing components for worm like robots and simulating their performance.

Andy has been working as a researcher with the university since 2017, working on a variety of different projects, from drone-based technologies to robotic arm attachments. A particular focus of his work more recently has been the design, manufacture and development of small robotic platforms for investigating pipe networks.

George Jackson-Mills

George Jackson-Mills is a Research Associate working towards the design and fabrication of small Inspection robots at the University of Leeds. George completed his MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering and, through his PhD in Mechatronics he developed “Miniature Magnetic Robots for the Inspection of Unpiggable Pipelines”.

George has worked on a variety of small in-pipe robotic systems for use in a range of environments and applications such as borehole deployment, wireless power transfer, and inspection of the National Transmission System. George is currently investigating new traction and locomotion methods for micro-robots in clean and waste water networks, in conjunction with the Pipebots project.

James Drake

James Drake is an Electronics Technician, having previously worked in the private sector technology industry in Cambridge and Yorkshire.  With over twenty years of radio frequency design and test development, his main industry focus has been working with wireless communication technologies, Bluetooth, BLE, Wi-Fi and NFC.  Working with the Robotics team at Leeds University has brought new and exciting challenges, that continue to grow and evolve.  James is a member of the IET, a first class graduate in Electronics from ARU, Cambridge; and is working towards Chartered Engineer status.

Nick Fry

Nick Fry is an Experimental Officer in the Design and Fabrication of Small Inspection Robots at the University of Leeds. He holds a M.Eng. degree in Mechatronics and Robotics and a Ph.D. in which he developed a novel multi-axis 3D printer using robotic arms. Previously as a Research Fellow with the Future Manufacturing Processes group at the University of Leeds he worked on EPSRC funded projects developing micro-manufacturing machines for microfluidic and soft robotic applications.

Liu Yang

Dr. Liu Yang is currently an academic visitor at school of mechanical engineering, university of Leeds. He received his Ph.D. from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 2010, and has worked at ZOOMLION as a team leader for nearly six years, and then became an associate professor of Hunan Normal University. Liu Yang has plentiful experience in structure and control design about large crane and robot. He built a serial manipulator with six joints driven by one DC motor, an unloading mechanism for vibration control of crane and a parallel Stewart Platform for large cabin assembling automation.

Mohammed Shaqura

Mohammed Shaqura is a Research Fellow in Robotics and Drones at the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds. He obtained a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering, Controls & Dynamics from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia in 2018. His research focused on developing control algorithms for Drone Navigation and Robotic Manipulation with the objective of reducing the effect of modelling uncertainties on performance using learning-based control and adaptation. Mohammed has rich hands-on experience with various autonomous platforms and sensing technologies including fixed-wing and multirotor UAVs, UGVs, and Robotic Manipulation and Grasping. His research interests are Robot Navigation, Drone Autonomy, Robotics System Design, and Modular Robotics.

Andy Pickering

Andy Pickering is an Experimental Officer in the creation of embedded systems for small inspection robots. He is currently investigating ways to miniaturise and integrate the electronic systems required to realise autonomous pipe dwelling robots. Andy has been involved in mechatronics and robotics for over 25 years where he has worked on the design and fabrication of electronic circuits and the development of firmware, device drivers and control software. He also has experience assisting students with project work and practical labs as well as the deployment of robots in the real world.  Andy has an HND in electronics and a first class B.Sc. and M.Sc. in computer science.

Nick Castledine

Nick Castledine has recently completed his PhD at the University of Leeds, developing a modular continuum segment for use in a general purpose manipulator. He is now working with the RAIN (Robotics and AI in Nuclear) hub, developing an inspection robot for 2” pipes to detect and classify radioactive contaminates.

Nick completed his master’s degree in Automotive Engineering at the University of Huddersfield, achieving awards for best final year project from the IMechE, and the Chancellor’s Award for outstanding achievement. This was followed by three years developing subsea oilfield technologies within the oil and gas industry before specialising in robotics and beginning his PhD.

Muhammad Azam Mohd Sharif

Muhammad Azam Mohd Sharif is a PhD student at the University of Leeds. Azam studied his undergraduate and finished his MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University in 2018. After a year in M&E industry, Azam return to undertake his PhD in 2019 and currently working on research and development of amphibious miniature robotics solution for investigating pipe networks, in conjunction with the Pipebots project.

Apicit Tantaworrasilp

Apicit Tantaworrasilp is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on a new design and development of new deformation method for a tensegrity structure which is potentially used to design a compliant-lightweight robot for pipe inspection tasks.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Electronics in 2001 and Master’s degree in control engineering in 2004 in King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Thailand. Also, he intends to establish an inspection robot platform for infrastructure maintenance tasks in the future.

Andy Blight

Andy has been writing software for over 40 years and has 25 years commercial software development experience.  He has a first class B.Sc. (hons) and an M.Sc. from The University of Hertfordshire.  He has worked a wide range of products including: aircraft instrumentation, audio equipment, automotive engine control units, and a large number of set top boxes and televisions.  Robotics software is closely related to the embedded software that he has worked on for many years.  He is enjoying the challenge of sharing his knowledge and experience with the team at Real Robotics. 

Simon Obute

Simon Obute is a Ph.D. student at the University of Leeds, where he investigates the effects of noisy communication and imperfect vision on swarm of foraging robots. He completed his bachelors in Electrical Engineering in 2010 and has M.Sc. degrees in Computational Intelligence (2014) and Control Systems (2017). His research experience cuts across swarm robotics, biologically inspired optimization and computer vision.


Mohammadali Javaheri Koopaee

Ali is a research fellow in Autonomous Robotics at the Electrical Engineering department of the University of Leeds. He obtained his M.Sc. in Control Theory from Tarbiat Modares University in 2015 and then his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical engineering from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019. His past research work has been focused on the design, modelling and control of modular robots, switching nonlinear systems and optimal control. He is currently working in the areas of Motion Control, Machine Vision and Intelligent Systems.

Wissem Haouas

Wissem Haouas is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in Robotics at the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds. He received a Master degree (2015) in mechatronics from the University of Franche-Comté, France. He also hold a PhD (2018) in automatic from the University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté where he developed new robotic structures for dextrous micromanipulation applications.

He is currently working on the design of a robotic system for deployment by drones in structures and the development of a 3D asphalt-printing drone that autonomously detects and repairs cracks.