Principal Investigators

Tom Richardson

Tom R

I currently lecture in Flight Mechanics and Control. My principal research interest is Control, ranging from classical flight control up to high-level decision-making and autonomy. Recently I have been working with members from Engineering Mathematics to address the problem of autonomy within groups of unmanned air vehicles.

Arthur Richards


I’m interested in the “mathematics of mobility”: using mathematical modelling and optimization to enable smarter control and coordination of vehicles. Lots of this work relates to drones, including automating flights, managing traffic, and coordinating teams.

Shane Windsor


My research looks at animal flight and how we can use bio-inspiration to improve engineered technologies, particularly in the area of small scale unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). My approach is inherently multidisciplinary, using techniques from both aerospace engineering and biology to study the principles involved with the dynamics, sensing and control of animal flight. This understanding then allows us to develop new technologies for aerospace systems.

Steve Burrow


I started my research career as a power electrical engineering, exploring the dynamic interactions of loudspeakers and amplifiers during my PhD. After a period researching novel machines for the More Electric Aircraft, I moved to the Aerospace department to teach aircraft systems. Now, within the FlightLab I bring experience in power system design and optimisation, especially in ultra-low power systems, mechatronic systems inc. novel actuation, and novel sensing systems.

Steve Bullock


I lecture in Control Systems and Aerospace Vehicle Design, and am interested in applications of ‘drones for good’, with a current focus on wilderness search and rescue. In-between graduating from and re-joining Bristol I spent time as a science teacher, and have a passion for effective and inspiring education.

Sebastian East


I am interested in problems at the intersection of control theory, numerical optimization, and machine learning. My primary research areas are currently: Machine learning-based controller design, Predictive control of hybrid power systems and Remote sensing for marine mammal research and conservation. I deliver lectures on classical and modern control theory.

Technical Services Staff

Duncan Hine


Technical Specialist – Aerial Robotics

My interests lie in design innovation and operational safety. I am a graduate engineer & ex Rolls Royce Apprentice. Prior to joining the university, I trained as a helicopter pilot and worked as a UAS test pilot and development engineer for heavy lift multi rotors alongside providing consultancy and pilot services for television productions across the UK and wider world.

Sam Hoh


Research Technician – NNUF

I’m a mechanical engineer with experience in mechanical design and robotics, having worked for 3 years as a mechanical design engineer designing industrial automation machines. I obtained my MSc in Robotics from the University of Bristol in 2020 and am currently working on the Hot Robotics project for the National Nuclear User Facility where I provide technical support for use of the kit.

Research Assosciates

Saurabh Upadhyay


My research interest focuses on real-world applications (e.g., search and rescue, planetary exploration, etc.) that require mobile robots to traverse unknown and unstructured obstacle-cluttered environments with high speed, low onboard computation power, and agile maneuvers. I work on motion planning and control, autonomous vehicles, and planetary exploration.

Jonathan Stevenson


I like to design, build and carry out experiments that explore the dynamics of fluids and other mechanical systems. Having started my research career in the world of fundamental aerodynamics, conducting wind tunnel PIV experiments on shear flows, I now work on the applied problem of bird-inspired gust mitigation for aircraft.

Kieran T Wood


My research focuses on the design and operations of UAS in environments that are inhospitable to life: at this time volcanic and nuclear sites. My previous Ph.D. work focused on autonomous indoor flight for small multi-rotor type vehicles, whilst my current post-doc role explores the use of both larger multi-rotors and fixed-wing types.

Sergio Araujo-Estrada


I am interested in the theoretical and experimental analysis of the intersection between flight dynamics, flight control, mechatronics systems and mathematical modelling validated using wind tunnel and flight tests. Currently, I am studying the application of Machine Learning (ML) to aircraft flight mechanics and control as they represent an opportunity to develop a new class of nonlinear models and controllers. In particular, I am interested in the challenges that this technology present in terms of how we approach flight modelling and control, and the impact that this will have on society.

Thomas David

Tom D

Most of my work for the flight lab has been in the design, development and operations of fixed wing UAVs and wind tunnel models. My principal interest is in precision aerobatics with model aircraft, in which I won the 2020 British National Championships.

PhD Students

Hirad Goudarzi


I am interested in increasing drone safety by developing highly verifiable autonomy for civil applications. My PhD aims to reduce the risk of operating drones in safety-critical applications by combining waypoint sequencing, executive mission controlling and human judgment.

Mario Martinez Groves-Raines


Currently undertaking my first year of a joint PhD programme between the University of Bristol and RMIT University in Melbourne (AUS). My research is dedicated to the development of an avian-inspired morphing wing for turbulence mitigation purposes. I completed my undergraduate degree at Bristol studying an MEng in aerospace.

Alexander Quessy


I am principally intererested in using Reinforcement Learning & Computer Vision to teach autonmous agents to solve difficult Guidance, Navigation & Control problems. My background is in aerospace and prior to starting my PhD I was a commercial flying instructor. I aim to use my knowledge of flight training to inform the methods I use to train autonomous aircraft.

Alex Mcconville


My interests centre around applications of UAS to real-world scenarios and novel UAS designs, my focus is on using UAS to improve meteorological data sensing while improving mission performance, and safety. My background is in aerospace engineering, and before beginning my PhD I was a consultant focusing on improving automation. I aim to use my knowledge to help make UAS a regular part of life.

Freddie Turner


I’m a student on the Bristol Robotics Laboratory’s FARSCOPE CDT programme. I work in the bio-inspired flight group on bird-inspired control for small UAVs, studying the behaviours and mechanisms used by birds to extract energy from gusts. My interests include signal processing, machine learning, dynamics and control, software, and much beyond…

Liam Fletcher


My main research interest is the development of novel flight controllers using machine learning techniques. My background is in aerospace engineering, and I am a member of the FARSCOPE CDT. My current focus is the use of reinforcement learning to generate flight controllers for agile fixed-wing aircraft, to allow them to operate in complex urban environments.

Mateusz Malinowski


I am a robotics software engineer in SCISYS UK, now part of CGI IT UK, where I have been working for over 8 years. In 2019 I started my PhD as I wanted to focus even more or robotics, primarily for planetary exploration. In my free time between work and research I like to play board games, although recently I picked a new hobby: JetRacer.

Mickey Li


My research is focused on investigating the practical use of multi-drone and multi-agent systems. In particular, how the whole system can remain robust and reliable in the presence of failures. My particular research revolves around developing failure-aware multi-drone methods for coverage path planning for use in structural and infrastructure inspection. My work has been primarily in proposing a novel probabilistic framework for evaluating the reliability of drone path plans.

Jimmy Young


My research aims to answer the question “How exactly do seagulls turn left and why don’t our engineered small UAVs do it that way?”. The methods involve analysing the flight mechanics of a bird’s wing and applying new methods to UAV flight control. I use a custom 3D motion capture technique on wild birds to study manoeuvres difficult to reproduce in a laboratory setting and test new control strategies in the wind tunnel and in simulation. Alongside my studies I’m a newly qualified commercial pilot on the Airbus A320 family.

Athia Haron


I am a PhD candidate in the Bio-Inspired Flight Lab. My research focused on bat-inspired sonar navigation, primarily, acoustic flow methods for autonomous navigation. I am interested in combining sensory biology with engineering applications, both to further understand animal behaviour, and to help advance biomimetics or bioinspired technology.

Ana Guerra-Langan


My research is focused on bio-inspired solutions to improve flight control and overall flight performance of small unmanned aerial vehicles. I have worked on the flight control requirements of soaring in urban environments and machine learning based flight controllers for fixed-wing SUAVs using distributed sensing.