Visiting Speakers: Jonathan Roberts & Philip Valencia

Robotics and Complex Systems

Speakers: Jonathan Roberts & Philip Valencia, CSIRO ICT Robotics

Venue: Seminar Room 78-420 (General Purpose South) UQ St Lucia

Time: 10 am on Thursday, 25 Nov 2004


We envisage a future in which robots and sensor networks are ubiquitous. An environment where people, animals, sensors and robots interact to achieve tasks safely, efficiently and sustainably. Our approach builds on three areas of substantial strength: robotics, wireless sensor networks and multi-agent system design.

The team has a 10 year history in the development of robotic systems for the mining industry with achievements such as automatic dragline and rope-shovel operation, underground ore haulage, explosive loading and mapping. More recently research has included small autonomous helicopters and tetherless underwater vehicles.

In sensor networks, the team has developed novel techniques for node localization, network deployment, analysis and repair as well as its own hardware platform. Applications being investigated include large-scale environmental monitoring (soil, streams, oceans) and animal behaviour.

The Robotics Team's sister group, Intelligent Systems, has over 10 years experience in signal processing, classifiers and learning systems. For the past 3 years this group's research has focussed strongly on complex systems and methods for automating the design of complex systems. The complementary skill sets of the Robotics Team with the Intelligent Systems Group for the ICT Autonomous Systems Theme, which is able to investigate complex systems from complexity theory, design and simulation through to real world implementations.

A number of physical systems have already been deployed and are currently under development. These include:

  • Robust sensor networks (Greenhouse Plant Monitoring and Animal Behaviour Tracking)
  • Sensing Structures with self-diagnosis and self-repair (Intelligent Vehicle Structures)
  • Distributed Energy Management and Control (Demand-Side Energy Management)
  • Intelligent sustainable agriculture and autonomous herding (Ad hoc Wireless Sensor & Actuator Networks)
  • Ad hoc Networks / MAS Development sites (Brisbane, Sydney,Canberra)

These deployments provide physical complex systems which will be used as test beds to demonstrate our research in complex systems design, system robustness and adaptability, scalability, energy efficiency and robotic interaction.

Biographical sketch for Jonathan Roberts:
Jonathan Roberts is a senior research engineer for the CSIRO ICT Centre's Robotics team in Brisbane. His research is focussed on new techniques in the field of robotics and automation and to apply them to industrial processes and systems. He has been involved in the autonomous LHD, dragline swing automation projects as well as vision-based ground and aerial vehicles. He co-chaired the 1999 and 2003 Australian Conference on Robotics & Automation.

He received an Honours Degree in Aerospace Systems Engineering in 1991 from the University of Southampton, UK. He then joined the Image, Speech and Intelligent Systems research group in Southampton as a Research Assistant. His work involved the development of parallel visual tracking techniques for use in a high speed autonomous vehicle. He completed a PhD titled "Attentive Visual Tracking and Trajectory Estimation for Dynamic Scene Segmentation" at the end of 1994.

Biographical sketch for Philip Valencia:
Philip Valencia is a research engineer in the CSIRO ICT Robotics Team, holding a B.Eng (Electrical) and B.IT from the Queensland University of Technology with plans to commence PhD studies at UQ within the ARC Complex Systems next year. Prior to his current focus on ad hoc sensor and actuation networks, Philip has for the past 3 years researched design methodologies for engineering useful behaviours of complex systems. During this, he designed and developed MAS simulators for studying emergent behaviours with intelligent sensing tiles for the CSIRO-NASA Ageless Aerospace Vehicle project and self-assembling behaviours of smart blocks for the GREMLab group. He is also the coordinator of the "Engineering, Design and Control of Complex Systems" interest group within CSIRO which has brought together scientists with expertise in MAS and nano/molecular sciences to investigate nano-scale MAS for self-assembly and self-replicating tasks.

Host: Peter Lindsay (, ph 07 3365 2005)

World-class basic and applied inter-disciplinary research on questions fundamental to understanding, designing and managing complex systems
2009 The ARC Centre for Complex Systems, Australia