Our people

The Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 is a multidisciplinary team of experts in advanced research and development of applied robotics and autonomous systems.

With over 80 people, the team is comprised of Research Scientists, Post-Doctoral Fellows, Engineers, PhD & Masters Students and Industrial Trainees, Honour Students and Vacation Scholars.

The Group is distributed across key teams: Robotic Perception, Robotic Autonomy, Robotic Design, Robotic Software, RAS Operations, and Wildcat Technologies

Our Past Staff and Alumni list can also be found here.

Dr Jason Williams, Principal Research Scientist | Acting Group Leader

Jason is the Acting Group Leader of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group. His main interest is enabling robots to autonomously perform challenging tasks in unstructured environments. His technical interests span the full range of autonomy from traversability analysis and path planning to exploration/coverage problems, multi-robot task allocation and human-robot teaming, as well as estimation and optimisation. He previously worked on Team CSIRO Data61’s solution for the DARPA Subterranean Challenge (SubT), first as developer of the exploration capability, then as lead of the broader autonomy development, and finally as technical lead for the project. Team CSIRO Data61 tied for top score at the Final Event of the SubT and came second on the tie-breaker criterion, winning US$1M. Jason received his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. Before joining CSIRO, he worked at the Defence Science and Technology Group, on projects including the search for MH370 and Australia’s Airborne Early Warning and Control capability.

Full Biography

Wildcat Technologies Team

Portrait photo of Fred Pauling

Mr Fred Pauling, Senior Engineer | Wildcat Technologies Lead

Fred leads the Wildcat Technologies Team at CSIRO Data61.  He has been primarily focussed on 3D SLAM related projects and activities since he joined CSIRO in 2009, and is currently responsible for SLAM strategy and product development in the Robotics Group. Fred received his first-class honours degree in Mechatronic Engineering from UQ in 2009, and was also awarded a bachelors degree in Computer Science from NTU (now CDU) in 2001.

Operations Team

A picture of Paul, Rosie and Ross

Stephen Brosnan

Stephen Brosnan | Senior Electronics Technician – Acting Operations Team Lead

Stephen is a Senior Research Technician at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 based in Brisbane and specialises in hardware development for the Group. 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.


Rosie Attwell | Technical Program Manager, Operations

As the Technical Program Manager in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, Rosie oversees the delivery of autonomous systems across the following domains including Nuclear Energy, Agriculture, Defence and Space. She manages risks and ensure projects are delivered on time and within budget and scope.

Full Biography

Ross Dungavell | Senior Engineer, Operations

Paul Flick | Principal Engineer, Operations

Paul Flick is a Senior Project Leader with the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. 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

Robotic Perception Team

Dr Paulo Borges, Principal Research Scientist | Robotic Perception Team Leader

Paulo is a Principal Research Scientist, Project Manager and Leader of the Robotics Perception Team in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. His current research focuses on sensor-fusion, visual-lidar 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 field robotics. He has been part of the CSIRO team since 2009. During this period, he also had a visiting scientist appointing at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, in 2012-13.

Full Biography

Dr Peyman Moghadam, Principal Research Scientist – Robotic Perception

Dr Peyman Moghadam is a Principal Research Scientist and Embodied AI team lead at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, CSIRO Data61. 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 Professor at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. Currently, he oversees a R&D portfolio of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (MLAI) for scientific discovery in spatiotemporal data streams at the CSIRO Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (MLAI) Future Science Platform. Dr Moghadam has led several large-scale multidisciplinary projects and he has won numerous awards for his innovations including CSIRO Julius Career award, National and Queensland iAward for Research and Development, the Lord Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneurs Award. His current research interests include 3D multi-modal perception (3D++), robotics, Embodied AI, SLAM and machine learning.

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Dr Sisi Liang, Software Engineer – Robotic Perception

Sisi is a Software Engineer at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. She received her PhD in Information Sciences from Victoria University in Melbourne in 2017 where she used structure-based models to analyze diffusion MRI data with the aim to help disease diagnosis. Before joining CSIRO, she has worked in a number of orgranizations such as IBM Australian Reseach Lab (Australia), Aquaforest Ltd (UK), and Wintone Ltd (China). She has extensive experience in the visualization and processing of medical image data. Her research interests are image processing, machine learning, and software engineering. She currently conducts research in computer vision.

Dr Mark Cox, Senior Experimental Scientist – Robotic Perception

Dr Mark Cox is a senior experimental scientist at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group CSIRO Data61. 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.

Tom Lowe, Research Projects Officer – Robotic Perception

Tom’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 the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 Tom is 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 Kasra Khosoussi, Senior Research ScientistRobotic Perception

Kasra Khosoussi received the B.Sc. degree in computer engineering from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, K. N. Toosi University of Technology in 2011, and the Ph.D. degree in robotics from the Centre for Autonomous Systems (CAS), University of Technology Sydney in 2017. He was a Visiting Ph.D. Student with the Department of Computer Science, University of Southern California (2015–2016). Prior to joining CSIRO’s Data61, he was a Research Scientist (2019-2021) and a Postdoctoral Associate (2017–2018) at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS). His research is primarily focused on developing robust and reliable algorithms with provable performance guarantees for single- and multi-robot perception and autonomy. His work was a Best Paper Award finalist in multi-robot systems at the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).

Dr Milad Ramezani, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Perception

Milad is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Embodied AI research team of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. Milad has studied computer vision and photogrammetry at K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Iran. Further, he carried out his PhD research in the field of localisation by means of GPS/IMU integration and visual-inertial odometry in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne. Immediately after his PhD, He joined the Dynamic Robot Systems Group in Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI), conducting his postdoctoral research under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Maurice Fallon (2018-2021). His research was focused on a robust and accurate localisation and mapping system, which can be deployable on various robotics platforms. He has made research contributions to 3D LiDAR SLAM, 3D reconstruction and visual and teach repeat techniques.

Liang Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Perception

Liang is a Postdoc Research Fellow with Robotics group and he is also holding a joint research fellow position at the University of Queensland (UQ) with A/Prof. Pauline Pounds. Liang was a machine learning postdoc research fellow at CSIRO and research associate on data-intensive astrophysics at UWA. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chinese Academy of Science in 2016, where he worked on simulated astrophysical data analysis. Prior to his Ph.D., he received his Bachelors in Physics. Liang’s research area includes deep learning-based time series classification and localization denoising.

Saimunur Rahman, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Perception

Saimunur Rahman completed his doctoral research in a collaboration between CSIRO Data61 and the University of Wollongong, Australia. His doctoral research was about higher-order visual representation learning with deep networks. He received his M.Sc. (by Research) in Computer Vision and B.Sc. in Computer Science & Engineering. He has been an awardee on many scholarships and honours throughout his life for academic and research excellence, including the Data61 PhD scholarship and UOW Centre of AI High-Performing HDR Award. His current research interests include computer vision, embodied AI and machine learning. He regularly reviews papers from top artificial intelligence conferences such as CVPR, ECCV, ACM MM etc., and serves on the program committees of various international conferences.

Can Peng, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Perception

Can is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Robotic Perception working on Embodied AI research. Before joining CSIRO, she pursued her PhD at the University of Queensland (UQ). Her PhD thesis explored incremental learning on image classification and object detection tasks. Prior to her PhD, she received her Bachelors in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at UQ. Can’s research focuses on incremental learning and domain generalisation which can be deployable on various robotics platforms to improve their real-application ability.

Yayuong Li, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Perception

Yayong Li is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Robotic Perception working on Embodied AI research.. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the Australian Artificial Intelligence Institute (AAII) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2022. Prior to that, he received his Master degree from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) in 2018. His main research interests are Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) and Data Mining, with the focus on developing novel machine learning methods to deal with the sparse and noisy label problems on graphs. His particular research topics include Active Learning, Label Noise, and Pseudo Labelling on graphs.

Robotic Autonomy Team

The Robotic Autonomy Team develops methods for planning and executing missions involving navigation and interaction in complex, unstructured environments using human-robot teams. Focus areas include navigation in challenging environments such as caves and forests, incorporating the full range of activities from traversability analysis to path planning and execution; mobile manipulation (and whole body planning) involving deformable objects such as vegetation; task-level autonomy such as exploration and coverage planning; multi-agent task allocation; and human-robot teams.

Robotic Autonomy Team Photograph

Dr Stano Funiak, Principal Research Scientist | Acting Robotic Autonomy Team Leader

Stano is a Principal Research Scientist in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group. His main interests lie in algorithms, machine learning, mathematical optimisation, and architecting of complex software systems, as the means to enable fleets of robots to operate autonomously in large unstructured environments. His research spans deep learning, compilers, optimisation, semi-supervised learning, user modelling, simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM), and probabilistic graphical models.

Stano received his PhD from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining CSIRO, he was a Member of Technical Staff at Cerebras Systems, a semiconductor company based in California, USA, where he developed methods for compiling deep learning models and contributed to the architecture of the compiler stack. He was also a Research Scientist at Facebook, where he developed models and production systems for user understanding and language models for language identification and transliteration.

Full Biography

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Dr Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay, Senior Research Scientist – Robotic Autonomy

Tirtha is a Senior Research Scientist at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group (RASG) focusing on robust robot locomotion and mobility for field robots. At RASG, he is the primary research investigator for climbing robotics where he explores the interplay between robust adhesion, robot morphology and mobility of high dimensional multi-limbed robots in complex 3-D discontinuous natural and man-made structures. In this capacity he supervises PhD students, leads and contributes to various research and industry projects on the topic of locomotion and robot navigation.

Prior to joining CSIRO, he was a post-doctoral fellow at SMART-FM, Singapore developing mobility on demand solutions for self-driving vehicles that took into account pedestrian intentions to navigate safely in a crowded environment.  He also led the work in SMART-CENSAM on navigation on autonomous surface vessels in choppy Singapore waters.

At the Robotics Group, Tirtha initiated the multi-limbed climbing robotics research. Since 2016, he led a team of robotics engineers and scientists towards the development of highly flexible magnetic foot multi-limbed inspection robot (Magneto) that went on to win the First prize in Sprint Robotics 2019 for the New Innovative Technology in Inspection, Maintenance or Cleaning category. Magneto is now being licensed by an Australian SME (Nexxis) for commercial development.

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Google Scholar

Dr Yanran Jiang, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Autonomy

Yanran received her BSc. Eng. Honors and PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from Monash University (Australia) in 2018 and 2022. Yanran’s research interest generally lies in the area of human motion analysis, fatigue estimation, machine learning, and deep learning. Her PhD research topic is to develop predictive and proactive fatigue monitoring frameworks through machine learning/deep learning techniques. Currently, she is working on a dynamic situational awareness project which seeks to build a richer, dynamic human-robot collaboration, enabling humans and robots to respond quicker to environmental changes and make better decisions.

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Dr Christina Kazantzidou, Research Scientist – Robotic Autonomy

Christina is a Research Scientist in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 with focus on robotic autonomy. She is also a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B) Committee Member at Data61 and an accredited Mental Health First Aider. Christina received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics, a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Computer Science and Systems & Control Theory, and a PhD in Mathematics, all from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Before joining CSIRO, Christina was a Lecturer in the School of Electrical Engineering and Robotics at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and a Chief Investigator and an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Portfolio Co-Lead with the QUT Centre for Robotics. She worked on a QUT project supported by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group for 3 years. She also worked as a Research Associate within the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Discipline in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at QUT from March 2016 until the end of 2018 and as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Curtin University from March 2014 to March 2016. Christina is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

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Dr Nicholas Lawrance, Senior Research Scientist – Robotic Autonomy

Nicholas Lawrance is a senior research scientist in the Robotic Autonomy team of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. His research focuses on machine learning and robot autonomy algorithms for adaptive modelling, decision-making and planning in complex and uncertain environments. Applications include aerial and underwater domains, particularly for long-duration robotic missions. Nick completed his PhD at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney, Australia (2011) and worked as a postdoctoral scholar in the Robotic Decision Making Laboratory at Oregon State University, USA (2013-2017). He was a senior researcher in the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland from 2018 to 2022.

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Torsten Merz

Dr Torsten Merz, Principal Research Engineer – Robotic Autonomy

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”. From 1995 to 2000, he was a research fellow at the Institute for Pattern Recognition at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany). 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. He 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 engineer where he has been leading the development of technologies enabling dependable autonomous flight of unmanned helicopters. In 2020, he included research on autonomous underwater vehicles and surface vehicles. His main research interest is dependable autonomy of robotic systems for non-military research and real-world applications.

Torsten holds a CASA Remote Pilot Licence, a GFA Glider Pilot Certificate (GPC), an EASA Sailplane Pilot Licence (SPL) with Touring Motor Glider (TMG) rating. He is the CSIRO Senior Base Pilot for experimental unmanned aircraft operations.

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Dr Hashini Senaratne, Postdoctoral Fellow  – Robotic Autonomy

Hashini received her PhD in Human-Centered Computing and Artificial Intelligence in 2022 from Monash University (Australia). Specifically, her PhD research involved detecting temporal patterns of anxiety using multimodal-multisensor analytics to support the future design of intelligent and clinically-meaningful assistive mobile technologies for anxiety. She holds a BSc. Eng. Honors in Computer Science from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. She also has a background in designing and developing robotic and electronic-based STEM educational toolkits for children and disability communities. Hashini’s broader research interests focus on discovering impactful human-centered AI technologies for multiple domains, using the techniques of domain exploration, multimodal analytics of physiological and behavioral signals, and employing AI techniques in an explainable manner. Currently, as a postdoctoral fellow of the CINTEL FSP, Hashini is researching how the situational awareness of humans in human-robot teams can be maintained at an optimal level throughout a mission, by designing and implementing adaptive interfaces integrated with user models.

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Dr Pavan Sikka, Senior Research Scientist  – Robotic Autonomy

Pavan Sikka is a Senior Research Scientist in the Autonomy Team (Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group) in CPS. He is currently leading the RASG engagement with the CINTEL FSP. Pavan obtained his PhD in Robotics from the University of Alberta, Canada in 1994. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the ANU before commencing with CSIRO in 1998 as a Robotics Software Engineer. He was originally involved with several foundational projects for the Robotics Group in the Mining Domain (for example, LHD Automation, Dragline Automation, Orica automated explosive charging). He was the architect of DDX, a key foundational software framework that was the basis of all projects until about 2007 when ROS became available. In the past, he has been a team leader for the Software team as well several teams in Robot Systems and Autonomy.

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Fletcher Talbot, Software Engineer  – Robotic Autonomy

Fletcher is a robotics autonomy software engineer with DATA61, CSIRO in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Group. Graduating from the University of Queensland (UQ) with a Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering in 2014, he has been with CSIRO since late 2013. Fletcher was the operations and testing lead for the CSIRO-Data61 SubT team which placed second in the DARPA Subterranean Robotics Challenge in 2021. Fletcher also is a key developer in the RAS Navigation and Autonomy Software Stack and is responsible for development of local path following capabilities including trajectory generation and model predictive control of UGV platforms, as well as development of the Dynamic Mission Controller GUI . He is also the chief software engineer for OpenSHC, the high-level control software running on the majority of DATA61 legged platforms including the Multi-legged Autonomous eXplorerMagneto and Gizmo.

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Brendan Tidd, Research Scientist – Robotic Autonomy

Brendan is a research scientist in the autonomy team at CSIRO Data61’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group. He completed a Bachelor of Mechatronics at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2017 and submitted his PhD thesis on learning visuo-motor behaviours for traversing difficult terrain in 2022. Brendan joined CSIRO as a robot technician in 2018 at the commencement of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, and was a human supervisor at the Urban and Cave circuits in 2020, and at the Final Event in the Louisville Mega Cavern in 2021 where Team CSIRO Data61 placed second in the competition. Brendan’s interests are in applying machine learning for developing behaviours for complex dynamic robots, including legged platforms and robotic arms.

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Robotic Design Team

Robotic Design Team members with robots


Nicholas Panitz, Senior Engineer | Robotic Design Team Leader

Nicholas is the Robotic Design Team Lead and a Senior Mechatronic Engineer within the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 in Brisbane. He graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronic Engineering. Since joining CSIRO in 2017, he has been working on multiple projects involving 3D design, embedded systems, and computer vision. Nick is currently the technical lead for CSIRO’s 3D Situational Awareness (3DSA) technology which focuses on improving safety, efficiency, and enabling co-habitation of people and robotic solutions within industry.

Dr David Howard, Principal Research Scientist – Robotic Design

David is a Senior Research Scientist in the Cyber Physical Systems program at CSIRO, Australia’s national science body. He leads multiple projects at the intersection of robotics, evolutionary machine learning, and the computational design of novel physical objects, previously leading a portfolio in the AIM Future Science Platform and currently leading the AI4Design portfolio. His interests include nature-inspired algorithms, learning, autonomy, soft robotics, the reality gap, and evolution of form. His work has been featured in local and national media.

He received his BSc in Computing from the University of Leeds in 2005, and the MSc in Cognitive Systems at the same institution in 2006. In 2011 he received his PhD from the University of the West of England. He is a member of the IEEE and ACM, and an avid proponent of education, STEM, and outreach activities. His work has been published in IEEE and Nature journals.

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Brett Wood, Principal Engineer – Robotic Design

Brett is a Senior Electronics Engineer within the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 in Brisbane. Brett received a Bachelor’s degree in Microelectronic Engineering (Honours) and a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Griffith University in 2007. Since joining the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group in 2007, Brett has worked on multiple robotics and automation projects. His work focuses on designing robust and reliable systems for ground and aerial vehicles and 3D Lidar Mapping technologies.


David Haddon, Senior Engineer – Robotic Design

At the age of six, I fixed a torch for a neighbour. This was actually a big moment in my life, as it was my first repair and the moment that I decided that I wanted to work in the field of electronics.
From that moment on I proceeded to pull apart anything that had wires, until the age of 12, when I started to put them back together again. I left high school in Year 11 to begin an electronics apprenticeship. I happily operated my own audio/visual repair and installation business for 8 years before changes in the industry forced me to reconsider my career path. I closed my business in late 2002 and moved my family and myself to Queensland to begin my student life, again. I completed my Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Systems) at Queensland University of Technology in 2008. I have been working with the CSIRO Automated Systems Laboratory since 2007, on many projects involving autonomous vehicles and sensor systems. Most of my work has involved software design and testing, electronic circuit development and embedded computer system development and maintenance.


Emre Uygun, Engineer – Robotic Design

Emre is a Mechatronic Engineer within the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO’s Data61 in Brisbane. He graduated from Griffith University as an Electronic and Computer Engineer with Class I Honours. While studying he commenced work within the lighting industry, designing control systems. After graduating, he continued to work within this industry for a further 8 years before joining our team. Emre has a passion for robotics and is dedicated to learning, upskilling, and applying his skills to build a safe, secure, and sustainable future.


Dr Hansi Weeratunge, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Design

Hansi is a CERC Post-doctoral Fellow in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group’s Material Robotics team. She completed her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Melbourne, followed by a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position at the Soft Matter Informatics Research Group. Hansi’s research has focused on the application of optimization and machine learning techniques in the design of materials for target applications. Currently, she’s investigating the application of these techniques to design soft robotic grippers. Her current research interests lie in Bayesian optimization, design of experiments, and inverse design.


James Brett, Senior Engineer – Robotic Design

James is a Senior 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 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61.


Dr Joshua Pinskier, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Design

Josh joined CSIRO Data61 in 2020 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group’s. He studied Mechatronics Engineering and Commerce at Monash University before completing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Monash in 2019.

Using his background in topology optimisation and compliant mechanism design for nano-manipulation, Josh’s research has focused on the developing computational design tools to rapidly generate high performing soft robots for agricultural applications. He hopes bespoke fruit picking tools will soon be just a click away.
Josh has expertise in multiphysics design and topology optimisation, finite element analysis, compliant mechanism and soft robotic design, and micromanipulation.

In addition to topology optimisation and soft robotics, he is interested in exploring the broad space of computational and autonomous design, to find efficient methodologies for high dimensional design optimisation problems for macro and microscale applications. This includes evolutionary and AI based optimisation, physics informed modelling, body-brain coevolution, robotic perception, and minimising the simulation to reality gap.


Lauren Hanson, Senior Engineer – Robotic Design

Lauren is a Mechanical Engineer in the Robotic Design team at CSIRO Data61. After graduating with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) from Monash University in 2018, she worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer within the Space Sector.
Since joining CSIRO in 2020, she has worked on multiple robotics projects, including leading development of mechanical systems for the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. She focuses on reliable and robust designs for field robotic ground platforms and test hardware to support research goals.

Leslie Philip Overs, Principal Engineer – Robotic Design

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 centres. 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 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61, 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 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group 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.

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Lois Liow, Engineer – Robotic Design

Lois is a Robotics Engineer within the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 in Brisbane. She graduated from Imperial College London in 2019 with a Masters (MEng) with research experience in robotic manipulation, in the area of underactuated grasping. After completing her degree, she stayed on with Imperial’s Robotic Manipulation Lab to publish her design of a modular prosthesis, which has now progressed towards clinical testing with upper limb amputees. In 2020, she moved to Malaysia, where she worked as a Robotics Engineer in a start-up to develop hospitality robots and home automation systems from concept through to production. Since joining CSIRO in 2022, she has been providing engineering support to the team, as well as performing research on compliant systems for legged robots.

Sarah Baldwin, Engineer – Robotic Design

Sarah is a Mechatronics Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. She graduated from Queensland University of Technology in 2021 and has research engineering experience with 3D printing technologies, computer vision and robotic design. Her work at CSIRO supports and advances the use of 3D printing within a wide range of research projects, including multiple soft robotics manipulation projects.

Simon Murrell, Engineer – Robotic Design

Simon is an Engineer in the Robotic Design Team in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group within CSIRO’s Data61. He has an engineering degree from Queensland University of Technology, majoring in mechatronics with minors in robotics and advanced electronics. Simon started at CSIRO in the Vacation Student Program before moving on to fill a casual then full-time position.He works designing and maintaining mechanical and embedded systems.

Vinoth Viswanathan, Senior Engineer – Robotic Design

Vinoth is a Senior Engineer with Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 in Brisbane. Vinoth received his Bachelor of Engineering degree (ECE) from Anna University, Chennai and Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering (Automation and Control) from National University of Singapore. Since graduation, he has been working with different research groups including Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMART), Singapore University of Technology and Design (BRD) and Robotics Institute at UTS before joining CSIRO in 2023. Vinoth has worked on condition assessment of waste water pipeline infrastructure with Sydney Water (Sewer Tool), bio-robotics design projects and underwater profilers for shallow waters and coastal monitoring.


Dr Xing Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Design

Xing Joined CSIRO Data61 in 2022 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group’s Robotics Design team. He studied Mechanical Engineering before completing his PhD in Robotics at Monash University in 2022. His PhD mainly focused on the soft robotic gripper and deep-learning-based visual guidance in agriculture applications. Xing’s research interests are the autonomous design of soft robotics, deep-learning-based fruit detection, segmentation, 3D reconstruction, Lidar-camera calibration, tactile sensing etc. His research in CSIRO mainly lies in developing bespoke autonomous soft robotic designs with AI algorithms.

Dr Yue Xie, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotic Design

Yue joined CSIRO Data61 in 2022 as a CERC Post-doctoral Fellow in the Robotic Design Team. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Adelaide in 2021, where her research focused on evolutionary computation through both theoretical analysis and real-world applications. Prior to joining Data61, she held a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Optimization and Logistics group at the University of Adelaide. Yue’s research interested are the stochastic optimization and combinatorial and she has applied this knowledge to tackle real-world problems such as mining and public health. At Data61, Yue’s research is focused on investigating the performance of combining evolutionary computation with neural networks for the design of soft robotics, which aims to explore new and innovative ways of designing soft robots.

Robotic Software Team

Dennis Frousheger, Senior Engineer | Robotic Software Team Leader

Dennis is a senior software engineer and project manager and has been working on robotics projects in CSIRO since 2008. As a software engineer Dennis has significant experience developing embedded software as well as user interface applications and has prior experience as a consulting engineer and project leader developing industrial and consumer products.

As a project manager at CSIRO he has managed collaborative research projects for unmanned aircraft. Since 2009 Dennis has been the Head Marshall for the UAV Challenge, an international competition for high school students and unmanned aircraft enthusiasts. Dennis was the Technical Project Manager for the CSIRO Data61 team that came second place in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. His work also includes software development and system integration of the Catpack robotic perception system running Wildcat.

Full Biography

Darren Baker, Senior Software Engineer – Robotic Software

Darren is a Senior Software Engineer at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO’s Data61. With a Bachelor of Information Technology from The University of Queensland, he has over 25 years’ experience and has started several businesses, notably video games company Wildfire Studios that he ran for 17 years.  He has designed and developed audio, 3D graphics and physics engines, tools, mobile apps, and web apps.
His work at CSIRO’s Data61 includes developing a relational database for real time ingestion and querying of 3D time series data, and multithreaded C++ performance optimisation. His technical interests include functional programming, machine learning, distributed systems, and relational modelling.

Serge Lichman, Senior Engineer – Robotic Software

As an Electronic Design Engineer at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group CSIRO Data61, 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.

Thomas Hines, Software Engineer – Robotic Software

Thomas is a Software Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. In 2016 he received a Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering from the University of Queensland. Since joining CSIRO in 2019, he has been working on support for users of CSIRO’s SLAM software and various DevOps related tasks.

Amelia Luu, Senior Engineer – Robotic Software

Tom Molnar, Software Engineer – Robotic Software

Tom has been with the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group since 2016. Tom’s work with CSIRO is primarily focused on the way robots interact with the physical world, he is one of the core engineers working on legged robotics and specialises in low-level control systems, dynamics, legged proprioception, and 3D perception. Tom is fluent in C++, Python and is an expert on all things Robotics Operating System (ROS). Tom is an alumnus of the University of Queensland, completing a dual degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science in 2017.

PhD Students

  • Johanna Schultz – PhD Student (USC) – Understanding Lizard Biomechanics for Climbing Robots (Supervisor: Dr. Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay)
  • Fabio Reutz – PhD Student (QUT) – Ground Robot Traversability in Forest Environments (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Lucas Lima – PhD Student (UQ) – Ground Robot Localisation in Forest Environments (Supervisor: Dr Paulo Borges)
  • Lucas de Oliveira – PhD Student (University of Sydney) – Planning and Localisation for Ground Robots (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Daniel Ward – PhD Student (UQ) – 3D scene Understanding 2020-present (Supervisor: Dr. Peyman Moghadam).
  • Joshua Knights- PhD Student (QUT) – 3D LiDAR semantic segmentation 2020-present (Supervisor: Dr. Peyman Moghadam).
  • Kavisha Vidanapathirana- PhD Student (QUT) – Semantic End to End Deep SLAM 2020-present (Supervisor: Dr. Peyman Moghadam).
  • Kaushik Roy- PhD Student (Monash) – Lifelong learning without forgetting previous knowledge 2020-present (Supervisor: Dr. Peyman Moghadam).
  • Tim Hojnik – PhD Student (QUT) – Configurable Wheel with Incorporated Suspension System for Various Robotic Platforms (Supervisor: Mr. Paul Flick).
  • Jack Collins – PhD Student (QUT) – Manipulation and the Simulation to Reality Gap (Supervisor: Dr. David Howard)
  • Saeb Mousavi – PhD Student (UNSW Sydney) – 3D printed soft sensing (Supervisors: Dr Chun Wang (UNSW) and Dr. David Howard)
  • Huanneng Qiu – PhD Student (UNSW Canberra) – Ensemble Spiking Control for Dynamic Environments (Supervisors: Dr. Matthew Garratt (UNSW) and Dr. David Howard)
  • Benjamin Tam – PhD Student (UQ) – Autonomous Exploration of Legged Robots in Confined Complex Environments (Supervisors: Dr. Navinda Kottege and Dr. Nicolas Hudson)
  • Justin Beri – PhD Student (QUT) – (Supervisor: Dr. Navinda Kottege)
  • Anthony Vanderkop – PhD Student (QUT) – (Supervisor: Dr. Navinda Kottege)

Masters Students

Industrial Trainees/Honours Students/Vacation Scholars

  • Daniel Ward – The University of Queensland, Electrical and Computer Engineering (Hons), 2013 – 2019 (Supervisor: Dr. Peyman Moghadam).
  • Noa Thouard – TAFE Queensland, Bachelor of Games and Interactive Design, 2016-2020 (Supervisor: Dr. Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay).
  • Jake Lewis – TAFE Queensland, Bachelor of Games and Interactive Design, 2017-2019 (Supervisor: Dr. Emili Hernandez).

Past Staff

  • Navinda Kottege – Group Leader / Principal Research Scientist
  • Alex Pitt – Senior Software Engineer
  • Gavin Catt – Senior Engineer
  • Kazys Stepanas – Senior Engineer
  • Maciej Matsuzak – Senior Engineer
  • Michael Vale – Engineer
  • Inkyu Sa – Senior Research Scientist
  • Ryan Steindl – Senior Mechatronic Engineer
  • Dimity Miller – Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Matthew Wildie – Machine Learning Engineer
  • Katrina Lo Surdo – Electrical Engineer
  • Shelvin Chand – Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Adrian Bonchis – Senior Research Scientist
  • Ashley Tews – Senior Research Scientist
  • Elliot Duff – Principal Research Consultant
  • Ahmadreza Ahmadi – Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Nicolas Hudson – Group Leader / Senior Principal Research Scientist
  • William Docherty – Senior Project Manager
  • Nick Hockings – Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Arash Khodaparastsichani – Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Prof Dr Alberto Elfes – Group Leader / Chief Research Scientist
  • Peter Corke – Research Director
  • Jonathan Roberts – Research Director
  • Michael Bruenig – Research Director
  • Graeme Winstanley – Principal Research Scientist
  • Stefan Hrabar – Principal Research Scientist
  • Robert Zlot – Principal Research Scientist
  • Mike Bosse – Principal Research Scientist
  • Simon Lucey – Principal Research Scientist
  • Farid Kendoul – Senior Research Scientist
  • Soohwan Kim – Research Scientist
  • Bilal Arain – Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Damien O’Rourke  – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Julian Ryde  – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Matt D’Souza – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Neale Fulton – Honorary Fellow
  • Sunil K Kopparapu – Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Srimal Jayawardena – Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Jason Saragih – Research Scientist
  • Mingrui Yang – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Guillaume Salagnac – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Cedric Pradalier – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Vu M. Nguyen – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Glenn Foley  – Research Scientist
  • Glenn Wagner – Senior Research Scientist
  • Emili Hernandez – Senior Research Scientist
  • David Prasser – Research Scientist
  • Volker Hilsenstein – Research Scientist
  • Sebastian Ourselin – Research Scientist
  • Kane Usher – Research Scientist
  • Matt Dunbabin – Principal Research Scientist
  • Daniel Fitzgerald – Research Scientist
  • Nick Hillier – Research Scientist
  • Ben Wilson – Research Engineer
  • Astrid Zeman – Research Engineer
  • Navid Nourani – Research Engineer
  • Lennon Cork – Research Engineer
  • John Whitham – Research Projects Officer
  • Darren Moore – Senior Engineer
  • Duncan Palmer – Senior Engineer
  • Peter Milani – Senior Engineer
  • Clinton Roy – Software Engineer
  • Polly Alexander – Software Engineer
  • Ben Mackey – Software Engineer
  • Dean Penfold – Electrical Engineer
  • Desiree Brundin – Helicopter Avionics Engineer
  • Edwin Davis – Engineer
  • Erin McColl – Engineer
  • Dylan Ward – Software Engineer
  • Tim Bailey – Senior Research Engineer
  • Jacob Oestreich – Mechatronics Engineer
  • Mark Ziza – Mechatronics Technician
  • Mitchell Bessell, Mechanical Engineer
  • Michael Thoreau – Engineer
  • Jordan Letchford – Engineer
  • Jack O’Conner – Engineer


  • Remo Steiner – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – Uncertainty Estimation for Sensor Fusion and Localisation (Supervisors: Dr. Paulo Borges and Dr Mark Cox)
  • Gabriel Waibel – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – Terrain Traversability for Ground Vehicles (Supervisors: Dr. Paulo Borges and Dr David Howard)
  • Tobi Löw – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – Long-Term Adaptive Planning for Autonomous Ground Vehicles (Supervisors: Dr. Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay and Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Shafeeq Elanattil –  PhD Student (QUT)- 3D Non-Rigid Tracking and Reconstruction (Supervisor: Dr. Peyman Moghadam)
  • Chanoh Park – PhD Student (QUT)- 3D multimodal situation Awareness (Supervisor: Dr. Peyman Moghadam)
  • Troy Cordie – PhD Student (QUT) – Modular Field Robotics (Supervisor: Dr Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay)
  • Eranda Tennakoon – PhD Student (QUT) – Legged robot locomotion on deformable terrain (Supervisor: Dr. Navinda Kottege)
  • Marko Bjelonic- Postgraduate Student
  • Edgar Brea –  Postgraduate Student
  • Zhonghuan Dai – Postgraduate Student
  • Ashton Fagg – Postgraduate Student
  • Jian Li – Postgraduate Student
  • Andreas Pfrunder – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Jeremy Sofonia – Postgraduate Student
  • Stephen Nuske – PhD Student
  • Stefan Hoermann – Postgraduate Student
  • Justinas Miseikis –  Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Thomas Faulhammer – Masters Student (University of Vienna) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Vitor Bottazi – PhD Student (Griffith University) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Ralph Aeschimann – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Robert Bichsel -Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Adrian Rechy – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Timon Homberger – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Philipp Egger – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Stephen Vidas –  Postgraduate Student
  • Russell Buchanan – Masters Student
  • Kamil Grycz – Masters Student
  • Fabio Ruetz – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges and Dr. Emili Hernandez)
  • JD Guo – Masters Student (ETH Zurich) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Victor Cazalla – Masters Student
  • Daniel Höh-Zaid – Masters Student
  • Frédéric Moster – Research Student
  • Marcus Hoerger – Research Intern
  • Niels Brouwers – Research Intern
  • Terry Kung – Industrial Trainee
  • Sebastian Kuppa – Industrial Trainee
  • Alan Rauzier – Masters Student (CentraleSupélec, France) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges and Dr. Tirthankar Bandy)
  • Daniel Calderon Saavedra –  Industrial Trainee
  • Renato Sanabria – Industrial Trainee (ITA, Brazil) – (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges and Dr. Alberto Elfes)
  • Michael Thoreau – Industrial Trainee
  • André Cantão – Industrial Trainee (Federal University of Santa Catarina) (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Julia Paul – Industrial Trainee (Federal University of Santa Catarina) (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Samith Ashan – Industrial Trainee
  • Uvindu Perera – Industrial Trainee
  • Pinchahewage Bhanuka Malith Silva – Industrial Trainee
  • Caio Fisher Silva – Industrial Trainee (UNESP) (Supervisor: Dr. Paulo Borges)
  • Sophia Nunner – Industrial Trainee