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Personal profile


In post as Reader and specialising in Cognitive Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles. Leading 10 person research team and director of studies (primary supervisor) for 4 PhD students. I have secured €6 million in competitive research funding since 2018, winning 4 large multi-partner research projects (H2020, ERA-NET, UKRI, Data Lab, and incl. direct industry funding).

Internationally recognised expertise in autonomous drone research and development, including Principal Investigator of H2020 research and innovation project RAPID (Risk Aware Port Inspection Drones) that was awarded €5 million from the European Commission in 2020. Industry partners include Fraunhofer, SINTEF, Thales, Port of Hamburg, and XOcean.

Previously delivered 20+ research projects (PI/FI in project portfolio worth €60 million), recipient of 3 national innovation awards, and output c. 40 peer reviewed articles, including 2 patents.

My research on robotic situational awareness focuses on improving the accuracy of smart sensing for unmanned and autonomous vehicles (e.g. drones, ships, automotive). It adapts deep learning and reinforcement learning artificial intelligence for sense and detect perception of navigation hazards from RGB, thermal, RADAR, LIDAR, and SONAR imagery, and extends high fidelity sensor simulation and scenario digital twinning to predict and minimise in-the-field collision risk. The challenge resonates across land, air, and sea use cases and involves interdisciplinary stakeholders from domains such as structural engineering, maritime transport, international law, renewable energy, and environmental science.

Appointed to the Expert Advisory Board of H2020 projects Drones4Safety and Labyrinth, and as an Independent External Expert to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (2020).

Fully qualified drone operator (General Visual Line of Sight certification), with operational authorisation and permissions from the Civil Aviation Authority for specific category (high risk) commercial drone operations since 2021.

Invited speaker at European Aeronautics Science Network conference 2021, European Robotics & AI workshop 2021, and co-organiser of workshop on Drones to Ensure Safety in Transport at IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 2021. Session co-chair (See-And-Avoid Systems) at IEEE International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS) 2021.

Developed and commercialised the world’s first underwater SONAR simulation and automation platform used in professionally accredited (IHO) hydrography operations. Developed as research testbed in European Commission projects RoboVaaS, SonaTag, SINNAN, and SUPPORT (£25 million initiatives), validated by INFOMAR (Irish Marine Institute, Geological Survey of Ireland) and Kongsberg Maritime, and procured under commercial tender by General Commission for Survey, KSA (2015) and Government of Ireland (2017).

Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of Limerick (Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering), 2021-2025.

Programme Leader of the BSc (Hons) IT Software Development graduate apprenticeship course, spearheading blended and work based learning approaches to knowledge and skills attainment. Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy since 2018.

Area of academic expertise - outline

Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles; Sensor Perception; Deep Learning Artificial Intelligence; Digital Twins; Remote Sensing Techniques; Maritime and Aviation Technology; Underwater Acoustics; Virtual and Mixed Reality Systems; High Performance Modelling & Simulation; Scientific Programming; Geospatial Science; Data Visualisation; Video Game Engines; Fast and Memory Efficient Point Cloud & Mesh Processing; Reinforcement Learning; Project Management;

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

External positions

Managing Director, SonarSim

1 Apr 20102021

Research Principal Investigator , University of Limerick

1 Sept 200731 Mar 2010

Research Fellow, University of Limerick

1 Sept 200631 Aug 2007


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