Karl Sammut is a Professor with the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University. He completed a Ph.D in Electronic Engineering at The University of Nottingham (U.K) in 1992, and was employed between 1992 and 1995 as a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and at Loughborough University (UK) before commencing his appointment at Flinders University in 1995. His research interests are focused on Maritime Autonomy, including mission planning, vehicle navigation, guidance and control, and situation awareness for autonomous surface and underwater vehicles.
Prof Sammut is the Co-Director of the Centre for Defence Engineering, Research and Training (CDERT) at Flinders University and is the theme lead for the Autonomy stream within the CDERT. He also holds a part-time position as a Senior Principal Scientist with the Australian Government Defence, Science and Technology Group - Maritime Division, undertaking research in maritime autonomy. His university research activities have been funded by the Australian Research Council, Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC, DST-Group, Lockheed Martin Australia, Thales Underwater Systems, Naval Group (France), Boeing Defence Australia, Fincantieri, and the South Australian Government.
Sam Drake's research focuses on Spectrum Security. Spectrum security is about ensuring that information transmitted by electromagnetic waves is received by the intended recipients uncorrupted. It is also concerned with detection, identification and localisation of electromagnetic transmitters.
Sam Drake completed his Bachelor of Science degree with first class honours at the University of Melbourne. His honours thesis was a study of chaos in the special relativistic dynamics. Soon after the commencement of his PhD Sam transferred to the Mathematical Physics Group at the University of Adelaide. Sam’s PhD thesis was on axisymmetric space-times in general relativity. Upon completion of his PhD Sam took a post-doctoral position at the University of Padua in Italy studying the formation of non-Keplerian disks about rotating dense stars.
Following the completion of post-doctoral research Sam took up a position as research scientist in the Australian public service. In this role Sam has represented Australia as a subject matter expert in government-to-government collaborations with Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Sam has worked with Raytheon and Boeing to develop electromagnetic security systems for Australian fighter jets.
Professor Drake has been at the forefront of research into gravitational time dilation effects on GPS satellites, applying relativity theory in an engineering context which has led to advances not only in satellite navigation, but also data fusion and electromagnetic emitter localisation.
Dr Giselle Rampersad is a Professor in Innovation in the College of Science and Engineering and Director of the Centre for Defence Engineering Research and Training at Flinders University. She was named STEMM Educator of the Year in 2021 in the SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards and is the Director for the award winning Diploma of Digital Technologies. Under her leadership, it received national recognition, winning the Australian Defence Industry Award for the Training and Mentorship Program of the Year in 2020, by Defence Connect. It also won the Industry Collaboration award at the SA Training Awards in 2021. The program is undertaken by employees from BAE Systems Australia, Boeing, SMEs and teachers.
She leads various major defence research projects. She has an interdisciplinary educational background including a PhD in Innovation and Technology Management (Adelaide University, Australia) and an MSc in Internet Systems and e-Business (Durham University, UK). Her primary research area is in innovation and technology management, with a particular emphasis on devising strategies for firms in managing innovation and developing policies with governments in building innovation capacity. A key part of her research includes digital transformation and human factors in the adoption of disruptive technologies, including autonomous technologies. Hear a podcast on her research.
Giselle has industry experience in several sectors such as defence, ICT, renewable energy and medical technologies as well as academic experience as she held various positions, namely, Director for the Work Integrated Learning Program for innovation, science, IT and engineering students (2009-2014); Coordinator for several Master, Bachelor and Diploma Programs (2009-present); founding member of the Advisory Board for Venture Dorm (for start-ups) (2012); and Lecturer in innovation management, innovation in medical devices and project management (2005-present).
Associate Professor Russell Brinkworth
Russell completed bachelors degrees in both Science and Biomedical Engineering at Flinders University in 2000. Following this he completed a PhD in neuroscience in 2004 at the Department of Physiology, University of Adelaide. Directly after the award of his PhD Russell then joined the Insect Vision Laboratory at the University of Adelaide first as a Post Doctoral Researcher, then, in 2006, as an ARC Research Fellow (Industry).
Russell completed a Graduate Certificate in Education in 2008 and became the Curriculum Coordinator for the Faculty of Science in 2009. In 2010 Russell took up a lecturing position in Mechanical Engineering, still at The University of Adelaide. Russell moved to the University of South Australia in 2011 as a Senior Lecturer and in 2014 became the Program Director for the Masters of Autonomous Systems within the School of Engineering.
In 2012, Russell was recognised as one of the young South Australian scientists of the year. In late 2019 Russell joined the Centre for Maritime Engineering at Flinders University as the Associate Professor of Autonomous Systems. Russell’s main research interest is in applying self-adaptive biologically inspired signal processing for use in robotics and surveillance.
Dr. Shengjian (Jammy) Chen
Dr. Chen received the M.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and electronic engineering from The University of Adelaide, Australia, in 2013 and 2017 respectively. From 2017 to 2021, he was a postdoctoral researcher and a lecturer in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Adelaide. He joined the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University as a lecturer in 2022. His current research interests include antenna design and engineering, microwave absorbers, and wearable and reconfigurable electromagnetic structures based on novel materials.
Dr. Chen was a recipient of several awards including the Young Scientist Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications (ICEAA) 2015, the Young Scientist Best Paper Award and Travel Bursary Award at ICEAA 2016, an Honorable Mention at IEEE AP-S Symposium on Antennas and Propagation (APS/URSI) 2017, a CST University Publication Award 2017, and the Best Paper Award at IEEE Asia-Pacific Microwave Conference 2021. Dr. Chen serves as the Chair of the IEEE South Australia Joint Chapter on Microwave Theory and Techniques (MTT) & Antennas and Propagation (AP) from 2019 to 2020.
Associate Professor Paulo Santos
Paulo Santos received his PhD degree in artificial intelligence from Imperial College, London, UK in 2003, working on the development of spatial reasoning systems for mobile. He was a research assistant at the School of Computing, University of Leeds, UK (2003-2005), working on a European Union funded project for the development of Cognitive Vision Systems. Dr. Santos led a research group in AI and Robotics in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2005-2019), conducting a number of research projects on AI and Robotics of industrial interest.
During this period, Dr. Santos was also a visiting researcher at the following world-class institutions: University of Leeds, UK (2007, 2010); Ryerson University, Canada (2010), Bremen University, Germany (2012); Corunna University, Spain (2014). Currently Dr. Santos is an Associate Professor at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, continuing his research on Computer Vision, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
Dr. Aaron Melville-Smith
(Autonomous Systems & Signal Processing)
Aaron comes from the University of South Australia, where he completed his PhD which focussed on the use and advancement of biologically inspired vision algorithms for the detection of micro-targets (around a pixel in size) in imagery.
After completion he looked at using similar techniques to successfully enhance the detection of koalas in gum plantations for the forestry industry. He recently joined the Centre for Defence Engineering Research and Training (CDERT) group at Flinders University in February 2022 as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate to investigate how to enhance underwater acoustic imaging in turbid marine environments.
Dr. Andrew Lammas
Andrew received his B.Eng. (Comp. Sys.) degree from Flinders University in 2005 and his Ph.D. (Robotics Engineering) also from Flinders University in 2012, studying particle filter-based localisation systems for autonomous underwater vehicles.
Previous positions include post-doctoral research associate positions in conjunction with ASC, PMB and Naval Group. Projects included; empirically derived lifetime modelling of battery systems, working on simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) systems for inspection robots and optimal path planning for underwater vehicles. His research interests include system modelling, mapping, navigation, control, and planning for autonomous platforms such as ASVs, AUVs, and AGVs.
Dr. Phillip Skelton
(Autonomous Systems & Signal Processing)
Phil received his PhD in biologically inspired visual sensing for robotics from the University of South Australia in 2020. Later in 2020 he joined the Centre for Maritime Engineering at Flinders University as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate under Professor Karl Sammut. He was involved in the formation of the Centre for Defence Engineering Research and Training (CDERT).
Phil works across all aspects of maritime mechatronics and robotics and is currently engaged on the development of a seabed crawler vehicle in collaboration with Thales under a Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC program. His research focuses on developing adaptive biologically inspired signal processing algorithms for multi-modal perception tasks in robotics, and the complex task of tuning these algorithms using evolutionary computation techniques.
Dr. Jonathan Wheare
Dr. Jonathan Wheare received his PhD from Flinders University in 2019. His research interests include mission planning systems, simulation, and control of autonomous vehicles. He has extensive experience in developing ROS 1/2 systems and simulators for ground, surface, and sub-surface autonomous vehicles including a number of entries for national and international robotics competitions.
He is currently developing the system architecture for an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle and working on a ROS2 based autonomy system for a vehicle being developed in collaboration with Thales Australia under a Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC program.
Alex’s research is in geolocation methods in the EME branch of CDERT and he has additional interests in problems in graphs, AI and game theory.
Locating users of the electromagnetic spectrum provides significant challenges in practice. An accurate estimation of the source of an emitter must account for interference, measurement error and other subtleties which become significant over large distances. Alex contributes to developing effective methods for handling these difficulties and then presenting the location data in a meaningful way.
Real world scenarios are often abstracted into networks for modelling and analysis. A network’s ability to encode combinatorial and geometric information makes them an invaluable tool for decision support, modelling communication and interactions, cyber security and various game-like scenarios.
Jody McKerral (Fisher)
Jody McKerral (Fisher) has a background in applied mathematics but has a strong interest in interdisciplinary problems. She has investigated a range of biophysics related problems, examining emergent properties and constraints of complex systems. Her research has included the role turbulence plays in structuring ecosystem dynamics, assembly rules of microbiomes, the geometric biasing of diffusion, and is now focussed on spectrum security. She undertook a Fulbright placement during her PhD with Albert-László Barabási at the Centre for Complex Network Research in Boston (Northeastern University), using networks to look at universal properties of microbiomes. Jody undertook her PhD research with Jim Mitchell (biophysics and systems biology), Jerzy Filar (mathematics), and Nima Dehmamy (physics). Following a postdoctoral position in the Flinders Accelerator for Microbiome Exploration, she is now a research fellow in the Satellite Spectrum Monitoring group with Professor Sam Drake.
John began his doctoral candidature at Flinders University at the end of 2019, after completing a Bachelor degree in mechatronic engineering with first-class honours at Deakin University.
His Ph.D thesis is related to the coordinated manoeuvring of unmanned underwater vehicles for recovery of unmanned assets. His scholarship is part funded by Boeing Defence Australia. The opportunity to be involved in a defence-related industry is exciting and rewarding after previously working in the management of surface water systems for environmental and agricultural benefits.
John is drawn to work which can make a real-world difference and expects that his control systems research could have far-reaching benefits in unmanned systems, extending and complementing the capabilities of manned systems while simultaneously reducing human risk factors. John’s Ph.D supervisors include Prof. Karl Sammut, Assoc. Prof. Russell Brinkworth and Assoc. Prof. Paulo Santos.
Zachary graduated from the University of Adelaide with a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical engineering. He is currently a doctoral researcher into the application of machine learning techniques to accelerate and optimise the docking of autonomous underwater vehicles operating in complex fluid domains. His scholarship is part funded by Boeing Defence Australia.
Zac’s thesis is supervised by Prof. Karl Sammut, Assoc. Prof. Paulo Santos and Assoc. Prof. Russell Brinkworth.
Zac has previously worked with both BAE Systems Australia and RUAG Aerospace within the F35 JSF program, NULKA and a range of other aerospace programs.
Thomas Chaffre received a Master of Science in Data Science and Robotics from ESIEA in 2019. He is currently pursuing a Cotutelle Ph.D. degree between ENSTA Bretagne and Flinders University in collaboration with Naval Group.
His research concentrates on the development of adaptive control systems for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) using Deep Reinforcement Learning methods.
Thomas is supervised by Prof. Benoit Clement, Prof. Karl Sammut, Assoc. Prof. Paulo Santos, and Prof. Gilles Le Chenadec. Thomas is currently a serving member of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Student Activity Task Force.
Maëlic is a Cotutelle PhD – undertaking his PhD jointly with Flinders University, Australia and Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Brest, France. He is a Robotics and AI enthusiast. The subject of his Ph.D thesis is Human-Robot Interaction (HRI).
- RoboCup@Home 2021: 3rd place (Social Standard Platform League)
- RoboCup@Home Education Online Challenge 2020: Best Performance Award (Standard Platform League, Open Category)
Simon is passionate about mobile robotics and is keen to explore the advancement of robots into real world applications. His research involves improving perception and mapping for ground robots in complex, multi-dimensional environments. He holds a BEng in Mechatronics (First Class) from the University of South Australia.
Alastair is a PhD candidate in RF Engineering concentrating on Electromagnetic Environment technologies. He graduated from Flinders University with first class honours in a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic) while also being awarded the University Medal for academic excellence.
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