View this email in your browser
A monthly newsletter by the QUT Centre for Robotics
December 2021 Table of Contents

Directors Message
Centre News & Achievements
Past Events
Upcoming Events
Robotics Seminar Series Catch Up
Behind the Scenes
New Faces
Publication Highlights

Directors Message

It’s been a challenging but successful year for the centre, and at the recent end of year centre retreat, we got to reflect a little on the year that was. Of course, there have been many new successes in the research space – new centres starting, new grants, prestigious accolades and awards, new industry projects, high impact papers and so forth – but people have always been at the core of what makes us a centre. 

It’s been great to have a number of PhD graduations, including Doug Morrison, James Mount, Justin Kennedy, Matthew Cooper, Kulatunga Mudiyanselage Eranda Tennakoon, Mario Strydom, Tim Jojnik, James Barker, Jeremy Opie, Chandrama Sarker, Dimity Miller and Ahmed Khodair Abba. We’ve also welcomed new additions to the greater family, with Justin Beri, AI Gavin Suddrey, AI David Hall and CI Aaron McFadyen all celebrating new additions to their families.  

Sadly, we will lose CI Jasmin Martin, who has played a significant role in the group, from her PhD all the way to her role as a lecturer these past few years. Jas has had a substantial impact on the research and teaching in the group, but also in her roles within the centre, and has played a significant part in the vibrant culture we have managed to get to today. We recently farewelled Jas and Feras (who joins the University of Adelaide next year) at a bittersweet function in the Cantina.  

We’ve also had staff join us as new permanent academics, with AI Tobias Fischer set to become a Lecturer from the start of 2022 in the group, having first joined QCR as a postdoc at the start of 2020 after PhD and postdoc stints at Imperial College London. 

Looking forward, there are a range of new initiatives and activities we’ll be championing next year. Peter Corke is leading the development of a Masters in Robotics and AI, which will open up new educational audiences. The centre will be recruiting for a range of academic, postdoc and PhD positions, including over 20 funded positions associated with grants and centres - please consult the current vacancies jobs board or reach out to the centre to find out more. We’ll find out about a range of strategic proposals we’ve been a part of in exciting topic areas like space. Finally, we’ll be looking ever more outwards, in terms of growing industry and government collaborations, attracting more external talent to the centre, and running a number of external engagement events with industry and partners. If you’re interested or have colleagues and connections, please put them in touch with us! 

I hope everyone is looking forward to a well earned break at the end of the year. All the best for the end of the year and we’re excited to see and work with you all in 2022! 

Professor Michael Milford, Joint Director, ARC Laureate Fellow 

Centre News & Achievements

US Philanthropic Success 

CI Matthew Dunbabin has been awarded a significant US philanthropic grant to progress and refine robotic, machine learning technology and associated user interfaces over 18-months that will empower stakeholders in four countries to massively scale and quantify restoration of degraded coral reef systems. 

Coral Spawning  

This November, CI Matthew Dunbabin, with PhD student Serena Mou and REF team’s Riki Lamont travelled to Lizard Island, on the Great Barrier Reef for the annual mass coral spawning event. They used 3 robots running real-time AI to precisely deploy coral larvae onto degraded reefs.  

These Autonomous Surface Vehicles are lightweight, and easily re-configured into 3 distinct modes. Collection mode allows the ASVs to be driven around during the late-night coral spawning, accurately collecting the precious spawn. To generate underwater, 3D maps on the areas marked for larval release, the ASVs can be mounted with cameras and deployed autonomously and cooperatively. Finally, for deployment, each ASV can carry up to 100L of coral larvae and release them onto suitable locations as determined in real-time by an on-board classifier. 

They released ~3 million coral larvae over almost a thousand square meters of damaged reef in just 3 hours. The deployment sites (and control sites) will be remapped by the ASVs periodically to monitor and quantify the growth of the corals over time. 

Additionally, QCR's Dorian Tsai and QUT's Karen Jackel travelled to the Australian Institute for Marine Science's (AIMS) National Sea Simulator in Townsville for the mass coral spawning. The two project specialists learned about the research and technological advancements aimed at saving the Great Barrier Reef from climate change. In particular, they observed the coral aquaculture and deployment facilities, aimed at automatically collecting, fertilising and growing baby corals for mass deployment onto degraded reefs. 

ARMHUB Mackay visit

CI Will Browne and Chair in AI and Manufacturing for QUT ARM Hub and CSIRO was in Mackay this week with members of the ARM Hub team working with resource industry supply chains to help improve production. Steel Central's Hardy Hess showed ARM Hub across the site during a technical assessment, identifying bottlenecks and opportunities. De-risking Steel Central’s adoption of robotics to increase production. 

Accompanied by Adrienne Rourke of who’s partnership made this possible. Also supported by Resources Industry Network Dean Kirkwood and Mackay Regional Manufacturing Hub Deb Allan

EER Awards 

Congrats to CIs Jasmin Martin (teaching award), Jon Roberts and Christina Kazantzidou (diversity award) and Frederic Maire (citizen of 20 years). 

Faculty Awards 

QCR in the News + Successful Demo 

Planetary Rover work with Boeing and CSIRO 

‘MSITE’ Team: Guenes, Ben, James, Dasun, Riki, Niko and Thierry.

CI Thierry Peynot and members from the Research Engineering Facility have developed a navigation and perception system to support a small, autonomous, 20kg rover. 
QUT media found that in a trial of the system at CSIRO’s new In-Situ Resource Utilisation Facility – established by the national science agency to test technologies in Moon-like environments – the QUT researchers demonstrated the rover’s autonomous navigation and perception system. 
The testing of the rover is part of a broader collaboration between QUT and Boeing, in which Boeing is providing expertise in aerospace engineering to advance the testing including demonstrating potential methods to execute space missions. See full story here.

QCR Ambassadors 2022 

Welcome to our new QCR Ambassadors for 2022!! Thomas Tilley, Jordan Gleeson and Morgan Windsor!

Thank you to our outgoing QCR Ambassadors Jordan Erskine and Ben Burgess-Limerick and to those continuing into 2022, Scarlett Raine and Somayeh Hussaini.

EER Service Roles 2022 

CI Thierry Peynot will be Deputy Academic Lead HDR for EER in 2022 

The Academic Lead HDR for EER remains Dhammika 

QCR Editing Fund 2022

Criteria to access the QCR editing fund: 

  • QCR CI  
  • QCR HDR student 
  • QCR Post-doc or Research Fellow
  • Paper must be submitted to one of the journals/conferences on the approved list 

You must also have a complete draft of the paper at least 2 weeks prior to the paper’s deadline. This will ensure that the editor has time to undertake the job and you have time to update the paper following edits. 


  • All applications for editing support are subject to Exec approval - please send Ilana an email seeking approval (at least 2 weeks prior to paper submission deadline).
  • Supervisors must support the paper submission (HDRs and Post-docs) 

Internal QCR Digital Notice Board

QCR now has a digital notice board where you can post events and other notices. Please see here for more information.

QCR Jobs Board 

The QCR Jobs Board can be view here.

How do I get a job onto the jobs board?  

Ilana has developed a simple form to complete. Once completed she receives a system email alert and will post your job to the QCR Jobs Board on your behalf. See the wiki page for more details.

Congratulations to QCR Winners

Vice Chancellor's Awards for Excellence

Research Excellence: the QUT Planetary Surface Exploration Group, including Associate Professor Thierry Peynot, Professor Felipe Gonzalez, Mr Julian Andres Galvez Sema. 

SAGE Higher Degree Research Publication Prize

Congrats to Guilherme Froes Silva: winner of the 2021 SAGE Higher Degree Research Publication Prize for QUT Faculty of Engineering. 

IEEE Aerospace Conference 2022

Seven IEEE conference papers accepted!

Congratulations Prof Gonzalez, Dr Fernando Vanegas and all PhD students (Nico Mandel, Juan Sandino, Julian Galvez, Xialong Zhu), three EH400-2 students as first authors (Stefan Bucur, Adam Parker, Samantha D'Arcy) and one VRES (Phuong Nam) as a co-author. 

New Baby

Congratulations to Aaron and his wife!

QCR Clean-up week

Past Events

News & Events - Ideas-a-thon 

Peter ran an Ideas-a-thon for the CIs and Post-docs using a modified version of the grant canvas model. It was well attended with Peter, Frederic and Fernando presenting their grant ideas to the group for feedback. The next Ideas-a-thon ran on 16 Dec and focussed on Research Fellows and their proposals. Another will be scheduled for January 2022.

1 December - QMEA – Industry and Innovation Tour  

18 teachers organised by QUT Young Accelerators  

Thanks to Tobi for hosting this tour! 

3 December - Mabel Park High School in conjunction with MMPE School 

30 people attended - organised by MMPE School (Geoffrey Will). Teachers and students from Mabel Park High School also attended.  

Thanks to Somayeh for hosting this tour! 

6 December – Upper Coomera State College 

Thanks to Scarlett for running the tour with a whopping 54 people in total! 

Centre Retreat

Thanks to everyone who attended the QCR retreat.

Congratulations to winners Scarlett & Tobi as well as awards and recognition to Jesse, Samuel & Geoff (HDR Category) and James, Stephen, Steven & Justin.

Southbank Beer Garden social event

Upcoming Events

Robotics Vision Summer School 

Now in its 8th year, the summer school is a week-long intensive course designed to cultivate and inspire those with an interest in vision-based robotics.  The school gives attendees the chance to learn about: 

  • fundamental and advanced topics in computer vision and robotics 

  • the latest developments in robotic vision as presented by world's leading experts 

  • robotic vision application domains 

The summer school also provides a unique opportunity to experiment with computer vision algorithms on actual robotic hardware; not to mention meet and network with peers and experts in the field. Previous summer schools have included a mix of final year undergraduate students, higher degree research students and industry professionals from companies like Boeing, BHP and Lockheed Martin. 

The summer school will be held from Monday 31 January to Friday 4 February 2022 and for the second year running it will adopt a COVID-19 complaint hybrid format.  

To find out more about RVSS and our fantastic line up of speaker’s, please visit the RVSS website at  for more information and to register. 

Please email if you have any further questions about this event. 
RVSS A5 Brochure.pdf - Google Drive 

Robotics Seminar Series Catch up
Missed a seminar? Catch up here.

Seminars from 7 December 2021 to 14 December 2021

Ground vs Not-Ground – That is the Question 

7 December 2021 

Dr James Mount 

Seminar only recorded for Project use


Design of a Light Field Fundas Camera 

14 December 2021 

Thomas Coppin 

Behind the Scenes

... with Morgan Windsor

What do you do in the Centre and what are you currently working on? 

I am a PhD researcher working with both QCR and the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Joint Biomechanics. My research is looking into how we can use computer vision systems to guide surgical robots for shoulder replacements without needing artificial markers. 

What’s on your desk? 

A coffee cup (sadly empty), a water bottle, a pile of papers, notebooks, and assorted charging cables.  

How would you describe your work to a child?  

I'm working to make new ways for robots see so they can help doctors fix people  

Three words to describe your work. 

Interesting, exciting, challenging. 

What’s your dream travel destination? 

It changes frequently but this week I'd really like to visit Prague 

Please finish these sentences: 

I’m currently reading  

Frank Herbert's Dune - I have been putting it off for years but finally got around to it after seeing the recent film.  

And currently wishing  

It wasn't so hot walking to campus in the morning. 

My last meal would be  


Final question!  Tea, coffee or no caffeine? 

Coffee when I'm out but tea at home  

Who do you nominate for next month? 

Thomas Tilley 

New Faces

Fangyi Zhang started with us on 1 December as a Research Fellow in Manipulation and Vision. Please make him feel welcome! 

Dr. Fangyi Zhang is currently a research fellow with the physical interaction program. He was also a former PhD student in the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision (ACRV) at QUT node, supervised by Prof. Peter Corke, Dr. Jürgen Leitner and Prof. Michael Milford. During his PhD, Fangyi was focused on Deep Reinforcement Learning and Transfer Learning for Robotic Reaching, and got his degree in 2018 with the thesis entitled “Learning Real-world Visuo-motor Policies from Simulation”. After that, he joined Alibaba DAMO Academy as a Research Scientist, doing research and development work on drone applications and data mining. His current research interests include robot learning, robotic vision, robotic manipulation, and autonomous systems. 

Prior to his PhD, Fangyi obtained his B.Eng. degree in Automation from East China Jiaotong University in 2010, followed with three years’ work experience on R&D of locomotive control algorithms and electrical systems in the CRRC Zhuzhou Institute from 2010 to 2013. In 2014, he stayed for one year at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, as a research assistant supervised by Prof. Ming Liu, doing research on VLC-based indoor localization and 2D-laser based 3D sensing. More details can be found on his personal website:


Welcome to our VRES (Vacation Research Experience Scheme) students Harl Towne and Therese Joseph, who join a number of other VRES students in the lab!

They will be with QCR until February 2022. Therese will then continue to do a PhD with us :). 

Publication Highlights

Autonomous Mapping of Desiccation Cracks via a Probabilistic-based Motion Planner Onboard UAVs. 

 Sandino, Juan, Galvez-Serna, Julian, Mandel, Nicolas, Vanegas Alvarez, Fernando, & Gonzalez, Luis Felipe (2021) In Proceedings of the 2022 IEEE Aerospace Conference. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. (In Press)   

main.pdf ( 


A Dataset of Stationary, Fixed-wing Aircraft on a Collision Course for Vision-Based Sense and Avoid 

J Martin, J Riseley, JJ Ford - arXiv preprint arXiv:2112.02735, 2021 

2112.02735.pdf ( 


Resolution-adaptive Quadtrees for Semantic Segmentation Mapping in UAV Applications. 

 Mandel, Nicolas, Sandino, Juan, Galvez Serna, Julian, Vanegas Alvarez, Fernando, Milford, Michael, & Gonzalez, Luis Felipe (2021)  In 2022 IEEE Aerospace Conference. IEEE Xplore. (In Press) 


Sample-Efficient Learning of Deformable Linear Object Manipulation in the Real World Through Self-Supervision 

R Lee, M Hamaya, T Murooka, Y Ijiri, P Corke - IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2021 


PointCrack3D: Crack Detection in Unstructured Environments using a 3D-Point-Cloud-Based Deep Neural Network 

Faris AzhariCharlotte SennerstenMichael MilfordThierry Peynot - arXiv preprint arXiv:2111.11615, 2021 


Copyright © 2021 QUT Centre for Robotics, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

You are receiving this message as a member of a QUT Centre for Robotics email list or you have subscribed to QCR's internal updates.
CRICOS No. 00213J

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
QUT Centre for Robotics · Qut Gardens Point Campus · 2 George St, BRISBANE CITY QLD 4000 · BRISBANE, QLD 4000 · Australia