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: Robotics Perception, Advanced Mechatronics Systems, Sensing & Processing Architectures, Dynamic Platforms and Dependable Long-term Autonomy

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

Dr Nicolas Hudson, Senior Principal Research Scientist | Group Leader 

Nicolas is a Senior Principal Research Scientist and the Technical Leader for the Robotics and Autonomous System Group at CSIRO Data61. Before joining CSIRO, Nicolas lead the [Google] X Robotics perception team, with a focus on applying machine learning to mobile manipulators. During his time at Google, he also worked for Boston Dynamics on whole body humanoid manipulation. Prior to Google, Nicolas was at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he lead/contributed to several US Department of Defense projects in mobile manipulation, including JPL’s winning DARPA ARM team, the DARPA Robotics Challenge, and technology development tasks for Mars Sample Return. This work culminated in Nicolas being awarded NASA’s Early Career Achievement Medal for contributions to robotic manipulation autonomy.

Portrait photo of Fred Pauling

Mr Fred Pauling, Senior Engineer | Wildcat Technologies Lead

Fred leads the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group 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

Mr Paul Flick, Senior Engineer | Operations Lead

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

Dr Elliot Duff, Principal Research Consultant | Product Lead 

Elliot is a Principal Research Consultant at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. His formal training is in computational physics and metallurgical engineering, but over his career he has been involved in many aspects of autonomous systems development, including: image processing, visualisation, navigation and embedded systems design.

Since 1999 his main focus has been in the area of field robotics and in particular the development of control and sensing systems that allow machines to operate autonomously outdoors in hostile and unstructured environments. This work has included the automation of large mining excavators, underground ore haulage vehicles and explosive loading machines.

For a number of years, he led the Robotic Perception team with interests in localisation and mobile mapping in GPS denied areas. More recently, he led the Autonomous Systems Program with interests in field robotics, sensor networks and cognitive systems. Today he oversees a number of emerging markets, including: Spatial Intelligence and the Industrial Internet.

Dr Sisi Liang, Software Engineer

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.

William Docherty,  Engineering Project Leader

Mr Docherty is a technical product development management professional with 24 years of experience at the cutting edge of the software development, including 20 years in senior technical and project management positions and 11 years concurrently in studio director roles. He has contributed to the design and development of over 30 products including many high-profile IPs and brands. Mr Docherty has established, co-owned and operated 2 small development companies for a total of 7 years.

Mr Docherty received his Bachelor of Engineering Degree (Honours) in Computer and Electronic Systems (CES) from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. CES is a dual course of Computer Science and Electronic & Electrical Engineering including core courses on Advanced Programming, Mathematics, Computer Architecture and Design, Real-time Systems, Parallel Processing, Computer Networks and Distributed Computing. The degree included a 6-month industrial placement at International Computers Limited (ICL) as a member of the Mainframe IO Design and Development team.

Mr William Docherty joined CSIRO in June 2019 as the Engineering Project Leader primarily on the DARPA SubT Challenge project within the Robotics and Autonomous Systems group. His primary responsibilities are program management support for multiple technical projects, split into sub-teams with distributed team members & logistical operations.



Robotics Perception Team

Dr Paulo Borges, Principal Research Scientist | Robotics 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 Mark Cox, Senior Experimental Scientist – Robotics 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.

Dr Peyman Moghadam, Senior Research Scientist – Robotics Perception

Peyman is a Technical Entrepreneur, Scientist and Project Leader 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. In his recent role as the AgTech Cluster Leader at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61, he leads the transition of innovative technologies into farms. He was Lead of the CSIRO’s HeatWave product, a handheld technology for 3D thermal imaging which has won the 2014 Australian National and Queensland iAward for Research and Development. His current research interests include 3D multi-modal perception (3D++), robotics, computer vision, machine learning, and 3D thermal/hyperspectral imaging.

Full Biography

Dr Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay, Research Scientist – Robotics Perception

Tirtha is a Research Scientist and Cluster leader for inspection robotics at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61.  He attained his PhD from National University of Singapore and did his Postdoctorate appointment at Singapore-MIT Alliance on autonomous Mobility-on-Demand systems. His main focus is in motion planning, design and control of non-conventional field robots in complex and cluttered 3-D environments. At RASG, he leads the research, industry and commercialisation projects on multi-limbed climbing robots, e.g Magneto. His activities also includes research in the use of modular multi-modal (wheels and legs) field robots for remote inspection and logistics in rough terrains.

Dr Jason Williams, Senior Research Scientist – Robotics Perception

Jason is a Senior Research Scientist in Robotic Perception, with research interests including sensor fusion, SLAM, multiple object tracking, sensor management and computer vision. He joined CSIRO in 2019 after working as a Senior Research Scientist in Defence Science and Technology Group (2007-2019) and as an Engineering Officer in the RAAF (1999-2007). He received BE(Electronics)(Hons) and BInfTech degrees from Queensland University of Technology in 1999, MSEE from the US Air Force Institute of Technology in 2003 and PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor with Queensland University of Technology.

Full Biography

Serge Lichman, Senior Engineer – Robotics Perception

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.

Tom Lowe, Research Projects Officer- Robotics 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.

Muming Zhao, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotics Perception

Muming is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. She received her PhD degree from the University of Technology Sydney in 2020 in Computer Science. Her research interests include computer vision and deep learning. She is currently working on the spatiotemporal activity of the CSIRO FSP platform.

Ben Harwood, Postdoctoral Fellow – Robotics Perception

Ben joined CSIRO Data61 in 2020 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Robotics Perception Team of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group as well as in the Spatiotemporal Activity within the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Future Science Platform. He studied Computer Science and Mechatronics Engineering at Monash University before completing his PhD in Computer Systems Engineering. Ben’s research has principally focused on developing efficient algorithms for the representation and retrieval of high dimensional big data. His current research interests include self-supervised learning, multi-modal representation learning, human-in-the-loop active learning and non-linear dimension reduction.


Advanced Mechatronics Systems Team

Leslie Philip Overs, Senior Engineer | Advanced Mechatronics Systems Team Leader

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 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.

Full Biography

Stephen Brosnan

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

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.


Brett Wood, Senior Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems

Brett is a Research Projects Officer at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. 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 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group 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.

David Haddon

David Haddon, Senior Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems

David has a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Computer Systems), and is  currently employed as a Software Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO 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.

Ryan Steindl, Research Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems

Ryan started working with Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 in early 2013. He graduated in Mechatronics Engineering from 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 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, and engineering support for research projects spanning multiple disciplines within Data61.

Nicholas Panitz, Research Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems

Nicholas is a 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, Nick has been working on multiple projects involving 3D design, embedded systems, and computer vision.

James Brett, Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems

James 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 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61.

Katrina Lo Surdo, Electrical and Computer Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems

Katrina is an Electrical and Computer Engineer in the Advanced Mechatronics System Team at CSIRO Data61. Katrina graduated with an Electrical and Computer Engineering degree from the University of Queensland in 2018. Her key area of professional interest is embedded systems development, and she enjoys working in the intersection between hardware and firmware. Since joining CSIRO in 2018, she has been working on electrical systems for the DARPA Subterranean Challenge.

Lauren Hanson, Mechanical Engineer – Advanced Mechatronics Systems

Lauren is a Mechanical Engineer in the Advanced Mechatronics System Team at CSIRO Data 61. After graduating with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) from Monash University in 2018, she been working as a Mechanical Design Engineer within the Space Sector. Since joining CSIRO, she has been working on mechanical systems for the DARPA Subterranean Challenge.


Sensing and Processing Architectures Team

Kazys Stepanas, Senior Engineer | Sensing and Processing Architectures Team Leader 

Kazys is a Software Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. He has over 18 years of experience and holds a bachelor degree in Computer Engineering specialising in software engineering from the University of Canberra. Kazys’ experience covers a wide range of software engineering disciplines including 3D graphics and simulation, artificial intelligence and physics simulation. Kazys specialises in software architectures, multi-threaded programming including GPU programming, debugging and optimisation. Kazys has spent the last number of years working with CSIRO SLAM technologies processing point cloud data and trajectories

Dennis Frousheger, Senior Engineer – Sensing and Processing Architectures

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

Full Biography

Darren Baker, Senior Software Engineer – Sensing and Processing Architectures

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.


Gavin Catt, Engineer – Sensing and Processing Architectures

Gavin is a Software Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. He graduated Griffith University, and commenced work with CSIRO in 2014. He has experience in a range of areas including 6DOF LiDAR-based SLAM, ROS system architectures, 3D/2D data processing and visualization, embedded systems, user-space device drivers, and was the lead developer for the software stack enabling CSIRO’s SLAM to be used as a 3D real-time mapping system in systems such as SurphSLAM. Gavin likes to work with 2D/3D systems; is proficient in C, C++, Python, HTML, and JavaScript; and loves guinea pigs.

Matt Wildie, Software Engineer – Sensing and Processing Architectures

Matt is a Software Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. He graduated from Queensland University of Technology in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering.  He joined Data61 as  a software engineer in 2018 in the robotics and autonomous systems. He is involved in the Darpa Sub-T challenge where he works to utilise robotic perception techniques and machine learning with platform specific hardware.

Thomas Hines, Software Engineer – Sensing and Processing Architectures

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.

Dynamic Platforms Team

Dr Navinda Kottege, Senior Research Scientist | Dynamic Platforms Team Leader

Navinda is a Research Team Leader and Senior Research Scientist with the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT), Pullenvale, QLD. He received his PhD in Engineering from The Australian National University in 2009. He currently leads legged robot research within CSIRO, an activity he initiated in 2011 which by now has built up in to a world-leading R&D capability within the group.

He leads the Dynamic Platforms team and conducts research in legged robot navigation, perception and control with multi-legged robots with a focus on locomotion in difficult unstructured environments. He has also led multiple projects for industry clients, developing collision awareness systems and personnel detection and tracking solutions for industrial environments.

Navinda joined CSIRO in 2009 as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Sensor Networks (later Distributed Sensing Systems) group at the Autonomous Systems Lab and conducted research in using acoustics for localisation and ecological monitoring. Previously he conducted robotics research at The Australian National University and was a team member of the Serafina project which developed swarming technology for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). During this time, he designed, developed and experimentally evaluated a novel high precision distributed localization sensor to be deployed on small agile underwater vehicles to facilitate swarming.

He is a senior member of the IEEE, and the is the Chair of the IEEE Queensland joint chapter for Control Systems/Robotics and Automation Societies. He is also a member of the ACM, an Honourary Senior Lecturer of the University of Queensland and a Visiting Fellow of the Queensland University of Technology.


Full Biography

Dr Adrian Bonchis, Research Scientist – Dynamic Platforms

Adrian 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.

Dr Inkyu Sa, Research Scientist – Dynamic Platforms

Inkyu is a Research Scientist with the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT), Pullenvale, QLD. Before joining CSIRO, he was a senior researcher at the Autonomous Systems Lab., ETH, Switzerland, since 2016. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia, since 2015 and obtained his Ph.D. degree in 2014 from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at QUT. He received Bachelor (2002) and Master (2006) degrees from Sung Kyun Kwan University, South Korea and worked at Samsung Electronics as a software engineer (2006-2009).

His research interests lie in the development of novel approaches for Field Robotics to solve challenging tasks in real-world environments. A particular focus of his research has been on enabling ground robots to perform autonomous search and rescue mission in subterranean scenarios, as part of the DARPA’s Subt challenge. This autonomy can be achieved by deploying techniques such as multimodal sensing, deep reinforcement learning, sensor fusion techniques for precise state estimation, and model-based robust control.


Dr Ahmadreza Ahmadi, Postdoctoral Fellow – Dynamic Platforms

Ahmadreza is a postdoctoral fellow with the Robotics and Autonomous System Group at CSIRO Data61. He received his PhD degree from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2019. His research interests include developing/applying deep learning models on spatio-temporal data. He is currently working on ground robot navigation and motion generation with deep learning models.


Fletcher Talbot, Research Engineer  – Dynamic Platforms

Fletcher is a Research Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 and specialises in control software for multi-legged robots. He joined CSIRO in 2014 after a completing his Bachelor Degree (Hons) in Mechatronics at the University of  Queensland. Fletcher is the lead developer of the software stack for the high-level control of CSIRO multi-legged robots including the Multi-legged Autonomous eXplorer (MAX). Outside of legged robotic locomotion his research interests include computer vision, HMI, robot navigation and evolutionary algorithms for robot morphology design.

Full Biography and Linkedin

Brendan Tidd, Engineer  – Dynamic Platforms

Brendan is an Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. He is also a PhD researcher at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision at QUT, joining CSIRO in 2018 under the guidance of supervisor Dr Nick Hudson. He graduated from QUT with a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics in 2017, and is currently researching reinforcement learning with perception for legged robots. As part of his role at CSIRO, Brendan has been assisting with robot testing for the DARPA Subterranean challenge, with duties that include operation and deployment of the multi agent solution under test conditions.

Benjamin Tam, Engineer  – Dynamic Platforms

Benjamin is an engineer and PhD student with the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group. He first joined CSIRO in 2015 during his undergraduate thesis in the area of fall detection, prevention and recovery of bipedal robots, before joining the Distributed Sensor Systems group as a Research Assistant in evaluating indoor localisation techniques. After graduating from a Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering from the University of Queensland, he worked on the hexapod robot platforms in the areas of locomotion control, perception and augmented telepresence; as well as having experience in developing applications requiring low latency, low bandwidth multi-camera streams.

With a passion for engaging the next generation in STEM, he has presented robotics research at numerous primary and high schools, universities and community outreach events.

After working as an engineer full-time, he decided to pursue a PhD in the area of robot navigation and control. His other research interests include legged locomotion, mobile manipulation and human-robot interaction.


Dependable Long-term Autonomy Team

Dr Pavan Sikka, Research Projects Officer | Dependable Long-term Autonomy

Pavan’s current focus is the Heatwave project and he works mainly on technology and software development for the project. In the past, he has been involved in the Large Hexapod project where he 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. Pavan was the principal developer responsible for DDX, a framework that was use extensively for several large automation projects for over 10 years.

Full Biography

Dr.-Ing. Torsten Merz, Principal Research Engineer | Dependable Long-term Autonomy

Torsten 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).

In 2006, he joined Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 as a senior research engineer where he has been leading the development of technologies 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. Torsten holds a CASA UAV Controller Certificate, a GFA Glider Pilot Certificate (GPC), an EASA Sailplane Pilot Licence (SPL) with Touring Motor Glider (TMG) rating and is the Data61 Robotics RPA Chief Pilot.

Research Biography 

Ash tews

Dr Ash Tews, Senior Research Scientist – Dependable Long-term Autonomy

Ashley 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 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. 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.

Dr Arash Khodaparastsichani, Postdoctoral Fellow – Dependable Long-term Autonomy

Arash is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. He received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in 2008 and 2010 and the Ph.D. degree from the University of New South Wales in 2016  in Electrical Engineering. His research interests include Engineering and Mathematical Cybernetics. Currently, he is working on autonomous aerial robotic platforms.

Brendan Do, Engineer  – Dependable Long-term Autonomy

Brendan is an Electrical Engineer in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. Starting at CSIRO in 2016 as a vacation student, he graduated from the University of Queensland in 2017 with a Bachelor of Engineering. Brendan works with embedded systems, currently working on Vertebrate Pest Detection.


Material Robotics Team

Dr David Howard, Research Scientist | Material Robotics Team Leader 

David is a Research Scientist in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61 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


Shelvin Chand, Postdoctoral Fellow – Material Robotics

Shelvin is a CERC Postdoctoral Fellow with the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61. Shelvin graduated from the University of New South Wales in 2018 with a PhD in Computer Science. His current research interests are in the field of evolutionary robotics and computational creativity/art. He also has a background in combinatorial optimization and operations research.



PhD Students

  • 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)
  • Eranda Tennakoon – PhD Student (QUT) – Legged robot locomotion on deformable terrain (Supervisor: Dr. Navinda Kottege)
  • 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)
  • Troy Cordie – PhD Student (QUT) – Modular Field Robotics (Supervisor: Dr Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay)
  • Justin Beri – PhD Student (QUT) – (Supervisor: Dr. Navinda Kottege)
  • Anthony Vanderkop – PhD Student (QUT) – (Supervisor: Dr. Navinda Kottege)

Masters Students

  • Tobi Löw – Masters Student (ETH) – Long-Term Adaptive Planning for Autonomous Ground Vehicles (Supervisors: Dr. Tirtha Bandyopadhyay and Dr. Paulo Borges)

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. Tirtha Bandyopadhyay).
  • Jake Lewis – TAFE Queensland, Bachelor of Games and Interactive Design, 2017-2019 (Supervisor: Dr. Emili Hernandez).

Past Staff

  • Prof Dr Alberto Elfes – 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
  • 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


  • Marko Bjelonic- Postgraduate Student
  • Edgar Brea –  Postgraduate Student
  • Zhonghuan Dai – Postgraduate Student
  • Ashton Fagg – Postgraduate Student
  • Jian Li – Postgraduate Student
  • Andreas Pfrunder – Postgraduate Student
  • Jeremy Sofonia – Postgraduate Student
  • Stephen Nuske – PhD Student
  • Stefan Hoermann – Postgraduate Student
  • Justinas Miseikis – Postgraduate Student
  • Thomas Faulhammer – Postgraduate Student
  • Vitor Bottazi – PhD Student
  • Ralph Aeschimann – Postgraduate Student
  • Robert Bichsel – Postgraduate Student
  • Adrian Rechy – Postgraduate Student
  • Timon Homberger – Postgraduate Student
  • Philipp Egger – Postgraduate Student
  • Stephen Vidas –  Postgraduate Student
  • Russell Buchanan – Masters Student
  • Kamil Grycz – Masters Student
  • Fabio Ruetz – Masters Student
  • JD Guo – Masters Student
  • 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 – Industrial Trainee
  • Daniel Calderon Saavedra –  Industrial Trainee
  • Renato Sanabria – Industrial Trainee
  • Michael Thoreau – Industrial Trainee
  • André Cantão – Industrial Trainee
  • Julia Paul – Industrial Trainee
  • Samith Ashan – Industrial Trainee
  • Uvindu Perera – Industrial Trainee
  • Pinchahewage Bhanuka Malith Silva – Industrial Trainee
  • Caio Fisher Silva – Industrial Trainee
  • Sophia Nunner – Industrial Trainee