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Our Team

Prof Dr Alberto Elfes,  Chief Research Scientist & Research Group Leader for Robotics, Data61

Alberto ElfesProf. Dr. Alberto Elfes is a Chief Research Scientist in CSIRO and the Leader of the Robotics Research Group in the  Cyberphysical Systems Program, Data61. He has a BEng in Electronics Engineering and an MSc in Computer Science  from the Aeronautics Institute of Technology (ITA), Brazil, and a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU), USA, where he developed the Occupancy Grid framework for robot mapping and navigation.

Alberto has a distinguished research record, with over 150 publications in international journals and conferences,  and has given over 350 invited and keynote talks in the USA, Europe, Japan, Australia and Brazil. Before joining  CSIRO in 2011, he held a number of senior positions, including Director of the Brazilian Automation Institute and
Principal Researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Alberto has led projects in autonomous aerial,  ocean and ground robots for Earth science missions and planetary exploration. His current research interests include 3D multi-modal perception, legged robots for extreme terrain, science rovers, and new robot concepts enabled
by advances in materials science.

Alberto is recipient of the Mercator Professorship Award of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and several  NASA awards. He is also an Honorary Professor at the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland.

Dr Stefan Hrabar,  Robotics Systems  Team Leader, Data61

stefan_2014Stefan is a Research Team Leader based in Brisbane and specialises in research on rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). He joined CSIRO in 2006 after completing his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Southern California. Stefan is broadly interested in civilian applications of UAVs and making them more user-friendly by increasing their levels of autonomy, and improving the human-machine interaction experience. His research has covered topics such as vision and lidar-based UAV obstacle avoidance, UAV path planning algorithms, UAV mission planning tools, and 3D visualisation of UAV-collected data.

Full Biography

Dr Paulo Borges, Senior Research Scientist | Robotics Perception Team Leader, Data61
Paulo BorgesPaulo is a Senior Research Scientist, Project Manager and Leader of the Robotics Perception Team in the Autonomous System Laboratory at CSIRO. His current research focuses on sensor-fusion, visual-based robot tracking and localisation, and autonomous vehicles. The topic of his Ph.D. (Queen Mary, University of London, 2007) was digital image/video processing, with strong focus on statistical signal processing methods. Paulo is also interested in general signal processing and robotics. Paulo has been part of the CSIRO team since 2009.

Full Biography

Mr Leslie Philip Overs, Senior Engineer | Research Team Leader, Data61


In 1992, Les started a degree at the Queensland University of Technology and also became the Queensland State Service Manager for Sanyo Australia, responsible for service and support in the Queensland and northern NSW region. In this role he managed Sanyo staff and over 300 contracted service centers. Mr Overs was also the youngest State Service Manager for Sanyo Australia at the time of his appointment.

Les received his First Class Honours Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1997 from the Queensland University of Technology. He joined CSIRO in 1999. In the Autonomous Systems lab, his primary task was the design of hardware systems for the laboratory’s many projects and activities. He is currently the engineering manager and a research team leader for the Brisbane laboratory and his team delivers the underpinning electrical, electronic, and mechanical and computer systems critical for all the Autonomous Systems lab projects (over 30 projects this year).

Les is also the DATA61 Location Leader for the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies Site (QCAT) and is responsible for location operations; representation and engagement and supporting health; safety & the environment for the site. He is the DATA61 representative for the QCAT Site Space and QCAT Site Management committees.

Full Biography

Dr Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay, Research Scientist – Robotics Perception| Data61

Bandyopadhyay, Tirthankar Tirtha joined CSIRO in 2013 where he  is a Research Scientist at the Autonomous Systems Lab in Brisbane  His main focus is in motion planning, design and control of field robots.  He gained his PhD from the National University of Singapore in 2010. Tirtha also studied at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur where he completed his Bachelor of Technology in 2001.


Dr Adrian Bonchis, Research Scientist- Robotics Systems| Data61

Adrian BonchisAdrian has been involved for over 26 years in delivering innovative automation solutions to mining, farming and manufacturing operations. Applications covered a wide range, from rigid and flexible manufacturing lines in his early years, to operator assist, semi-autonomous and autonomous systems for heavy mobile equipment in agriculture and mining in the later years of his career.”


Mr James Brett, Engineer- Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

James BrettJames Brett is a Mechatronic Engineer who graduated Griffith University in 2014. After graduating, he began work as a Design Engineer within the Industrial Automation and Robotics field. James commenced work with CSIRO in 2016 and he currently works as a Mechatronics Engineer in the Cyber Physical Systems team within DATA61.


Mr Stephen Brosnan, Senior Electronics Technician & Research Projects Officer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

Stephen BrosnanStephen is a Senior Research Technician based in Brisbane and specialises in hardware development for the Autonomous Systems Lab. He joined CSIRO in 2001 after many years working in private industry and as a business owner, is formally qualified as a fitter – machinist and electronics technician, holds a restricted electrical licence as well as several nationally accredited licences to operate high risk machinery. Stephen is broadly interested in applied mechatronics systems but focused on Printed Circuit Board design and is a registered CID+ senior PCB designer.

Dr Mark Cox, Senior Experimental Scientist- Robotics Perception| Data61

Mark CoxDr Mark Cox is a senior experimental scientist inside of the Data61 business unit of CSIRO. His interests in computer vision and machine learning have allowed him to work on a wide range of projects spanning non-rigid face tracking, unsupervised registration of images and wearable technologies


Mr Paul Flick, Senior Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

Paul FlickPaul Flick is a Senior Project Leader with the Autonomous Systems within the DATA61 Cyberphysical Systems Business unit. Paul is also the Boeing and Manufacturing Cluster leader which enables him to oversee the proposals and projects within this area for the Autonomous Systems. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronic Engineering (2001 USQ, Hons) and Joined CSIRO in 2005 after four years with CNC Manufacturer Advanced Robotics Technologies based in Brisbane.

Paul is also the designer of CSIRO’s Zebedee 3D Mapping system which has won the 2013 Australian National IAward for Research and Development, 2013 ANSTO Eureka Prize for innovative Use of Technology, and the 2014 CSIRO Medal for Scientific Excellence. He designed  the new ZebREVO and SurphSLAM 3D mapping systems. Paul is experienced in Robotics design and development, and with the integration of systems and sensors, in particular LiDAR and camera systems

Full Biography

Mr David Haddon, Senior Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

David HaddonDavid Haddon has a B. of Electrical Engineering (Computer Systems), and is  currently employed as a Software Engineer in the Advanced Mechatronic Systems Team in Data61.  He works on the software of embedded PC’s and microprocessors, as well as doing web interfaces and data collection systems. David likes to do sensor interfaces when possible. Can program in C, C++, Python, HTML, Javascript, and PHP.  Hes loves Formula1 and motorsports in general with as much time spent on Gran Turismo as possible.


Dr Emili Hernandez, Research Engineer – Robotic Systems | Data61

Emili Hernandez Emili is a Research Engineer in the Robotics Systems Team. He joined CSIRO in 2013 after a postdoc at the University of Girona, from where he got his PhD in Computer Engineering. The topic of his PhD was Autonomous Underwater Vehicle navigation and path planning. Emili is currently focused on real-time 3D map building using multi-modal sensor fusion and Autonomous Ground Robot navigation. He is interested in field robotics autonomy, specially in developing technology that allows to remove the human component from the loop in tedious or dangerous activities.

Dr David Howard, Research Engineer  – Robotic Systems| Data61

David HowardDavid is a research scientist with focus on evolutionary field robotics. David current field of research includes investigating the application of evolutionary algorithms and reinforcement learning to UAVs, focusing on multi-rotor UAV development. He is interested in long-term autonomy and task-based robotic design, and has a background in learning classifier systems, neuro-evolutionary algorithms, and the design of hardware neural networks.

Full Biography

Dr Srimal Jayawardena- Postdoctoral Fellow- Robotics Perception| Data61

Srimal JayawardenaI obtained my PhD from the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) at the Australian National University (ANU).
Previously, I obtained my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Peradeniya and my Bachelors in Information Technology (BIT) from the University of Colombo School of Computing , both with first class honours.
My research interests include but are not limited to machine learning, computer vision and robotics. At a more abstract level I am interested in distributed optimisation methods and linear regression methods with applications in these feilds.


Dr Farid Kendoul, Research Scientist- Robotic Systems| Data61

Farid KendoulFarid Kendoul is a research scientist with more than 12 years’ experience in R&D, integration and field testing of dependable autonomy technologies with high TRL for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). He received the Engineer and Master degrees in Robotics and automatic control from the University of Technology of Compiegne (UTC), France, in 2004. In 2007, he completed a doctoral thesis on the topic of control and navigation of UAS and received a Ph.D. in System Technologies from UTC. From 2007 to 2009, he was a JSPS postdoctoral research fellow at Chiba University in Japan where he has developed an embedded autopilot and a vision-based navigation system for autonomous flight of unmanned rotorcraft systems.

Farid joined the CSIRO Autonomous Systems Laboratory in October 2009 as a research scientist. His research topics include autonomous UAS, flight control systems, guidance and navigation, real-time navigation and perception for field robotics, avionics and embedded systems.

In 2015, he held a Visiting Researcher position at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he
developed guidance and control algorithms for accurate path following and safe landing of JPL’s rotorcraft platforms.

Dr Navinda Kottege, Research Scientist – Robotics Perception| Data61

Navinda Kottege Navinda Kottege is a Research Scientist and Project Leader with the Robotics group at CSIRO. He conducts research in robot perception and legged locomotion with hexapod robots, especially using low-level proprioceptive sensing. He joined the Sensor Networks group (later Distributed Sensing Systems group) of the Autonomous Systems Lab in 2009 and conducted research in using acoustics for localisation and ecological monitoring before joining the Robotics group in 2012. Previously he conducted robotics research at The Australian National University.

Navinda was a team member of the Serafina project which developed swarming technology for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) where he completed his PhD in 2009. His fields of interest include Experimental Robotics, Sensor Networks, Localization and Acoustic Perception for Mobile Robots. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at the School of ITEE at the University of Queensland, a Visiting Fellow at the School of EECS at the Queensland University of Technology, a Senior Member of the IEEE and Vice-chair of the joint IEEE Control Systems and Robotics and Automation Societies’ Queensland Chapter.

Full Biography

Mr Serge Lichman, Senior Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

Serge LichmanAs an electronic design engineer Serge Lichman has broad prior experience in system design using microcontrollers and FPGAs, in VHDL programming and sensor interfacing. Lately his primary focus was on the production level software engineering, including requirements analysis, architectural design, development, testing, optimisation and maintenance of software products. He is familiar with modern tools and practices and actively uses them in software development.
His research interests are in the area of computer vision, digital signal processing and control systems.

Mr Tom Lowe, Research Projects Officer- Robotics Perception| Data61

Tom LoweTom’s background is in computer science, dynamics, graphics and software engineering. He has worked in 3D game development, physical character control and physics engine development. At CSIRO Tom am responsible for the SLAM development work used for 3D lidar mapping, and also on developing new motion control algorithms for legged robots. Currently he is also combining my projects with a part-time phd in robot motion control, with a particular focus on soft, compliant actuation of robots.

Dr Torsten Merz, Senior Research Engineer | Technical Lead Aerial Robotics, Data61

Torsten Merz

Torsten Merz studied “Applied Computer Science in the Natural Sciences” at the University of Bielefeld (Germany) and graduated 1995 with the degree of “Diplom-Informatiker”. In 2000, he completed a doctoral thesis on the topic of model-based analysis of interference patterns and received a doctorate in engineering (Dr.-Ing.) from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. From 2001 to 2005 he was with the Artificial Intelligence and Integrated Computer Systems Division of the Department of Computer and Information Science at Linköping University (Sweden). He joined the division as a research engineer and later became assistant professor in AI robotics. Torsten was head of the Perception and Control Group which, among others, developed the avionics system for a larger autonomous unmanned helicopter.In 2006, he joined CSIRO’s Autonomous Systems Laboratory as a senior research scientist/engineer where he is leading the development of technology enabling dependable autonomous flight of unmanned helicopters. His main research interest is dependable autonomy of robotic systems for both research and non-military real-world applications.

Dr Peyman Moghadam, Research Scientist – Robotics Perception| Data61

Peyman MoghadamDr. Peyman Moghadam is a Technical Entrepreneur, Scientist and Project Leader at DATA61, CSIRO. Before joining CSIRO, he has worked in a number of top leading organizations such as the Deutsche Telekom Laboratories (Germany) and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (Singapore). Dr. Moghadam is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Adjunct Fellow at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

Dr. Moghadam Leads the CSIRO’s HeatWave product, a handheld technology for 3D thermal imaging which has won the 2014 Australian National iAward for Research and Development. Currently, he leads the 3D Multi-Modal Perception (3D++) product activities in the Autonomous Systems Lab, DATA61. His current research interests include robotics, computer vision, machine learning, and 3D thermal/hyperspectral imaging.

Dr Pavan Sikka, Research Projects Officer- Robotic Systems| Data61

Pavan SikkaPavan Sikka’s current focus is the Heatwave project and I work mainly on technology and software development for the project. In the past, I have been involved in the Large Hexapod project where I was responsible for developing the low-level drivers and frameworks for getting the robot ready for further development of higher-level functionality. Other projects in the past include event-driven mobile robot surveys, museum robot, sensor networks, and several large and early automation projects in the group. I was the principal developer responsible for DDX, a framework that was use extensively for several large automation projects for over 10 years.

Full Biography

Mr Ryan Steindl, Research Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

Ryan Steindl Ryan Steindl Mechatronics Engineer, started working with CSIRO autonomous systems laboratory in early 2013. Graduated Mechatronics Engineering at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2013.  Ryan’s work at CSIRO heavily revolves around robotic system design with a focus on legged locomotion. Duties include operation of 3D printing laboratory for the autonomous systems laboratory, and engineering support for research projects spanning multiple disciplines within Data61.


Benjamin Tam, Engineer – Robotics Perception| Data61

Ben-TamBenjamin is an engineer with the Robotics group in Data61 at QCAT Pullenvale, QLD. He first joined CSIRO in 2015 for his undergraduate thesis in the area of fall detection, prevention and recovery of bipedal robots before moving to the Distributed Sensor Systems group as a Research Assistant. He currently works on the hexapod robot platform in the areas of locomotion control and augmented perception.


Dr Ash Tews, Senior Research Scientist- Robotic Systems| Data61

Ash tewsAshley Tews received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Queensland in 2003 on the topic of multi-robot coordination strategies. He undertook a post doctoral fellowship at the University of Southern California, conducting research into methods for stealthy robot navigation in outdoor environments. Since 2005, he has been a Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Autonomous Systems Laboratory. Ash has lead and contributed to several projects in autonomous systems, ground robots and sensor networks. The largest project entailed automating a 20 tonne Hot Metal Carrier forklift for material carrying duties. His current research interests are focused towards autonomous solutions for wild animal tracking in outdoor environments.


Mr Ben Wilson, Research Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

Ben WilsonBen Wilson is a part of the Mechatronic Engineering team in the Autonomous Systems Lab. He recently graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronic Engineering. Ben is currently working on the parts of the ZebREVO along with other embedded systems projects.


Mr John Whitham, Research Projects Officer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

John WhithamJohn Whitham arrived in Perth WA from England 1974 and worked in the Western Australia mining industry for six years before moving to Queensland. He then spent 23 years in manufacturing maintenance industrial in the Brisbane area prior to joining CSIRO in 2004. Mr Whitham designs and manufactures, to a high degree of accuracy, the various Mechatronic Systems for AS Laboratory using the in-house facilities. He provides the critical and novel electrical and mechanical infrastructure for the AS lab’s many projects. John managers the AS lab’s Mechatronics workshop on the Pullenvale site and is responsible for all of the specialised machinery and equipment.


Mr Brett Wood, Senior Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems| Data61

Brett_Wood_Mr Brett Wood is a Research Projects Officer at the CSIRO Data 61. He received a double degree in Microelectronic Engineering and Information Technology with Honours from Griffith University in 2007. For his final year Industrial Traineeships he completed a project at the CSIRO Autonomous Systems Laboratory (ASL) on the development of an Autonomous Water Vehicle. Since joining CSIRO in 2007, Brett has worked on several Autonomous Robotic Systems including the development of the UAV system and Environmental Sensor Networks.



Cuc Tran, QCAT Site Coordinator-  Cyber-Physical Systems|Data61