Research Leads

ORCA Hub's focus areas are led by the following academics:

Professor Yvan Petillot - ORCA Hub Principal Investigator

Mapping, Surveying & Inspection

Prof. Yvan Petillot

Yvan Petillot is a Professor of Robotics and Computer Vision at Heriot-Watt University, a leading member of the Oceans Systems Laboratory, Deputy Director of the Institute for Sensor Signals and Systems and Deputy Director of the joint research institute in Signal and Image Processing (ERP-SIP) with the University of Edinburgh.

Yvan specialises in robotics and sensing and is an expert in autonomous systems, image analysis and control applied to the subsea domain. With over 15 years experience in Robotics, Image Processing and Autonomous Systems in the maritime domain, he has made significant contributions to target detection and classification multiple vehicle collaboration and autonomous inspection and manipulation. He is the deputy director of the UK Defense Research Centre in Signal Processing and has extensive experience in subsea localisation and mapping. Yvan is also currently a Royal Society Industry Fellow in collaboration with SeeByte Ltd, a company he co-founded in 2001 and in which he was Chief Technical Officer until 2010.

Yvan has a long history of successful collaborations with other leading researchers in Europe through a number of European Research Projects (ALIVE, Autotracker, Amason, 2005, FreeSubNet 2008, Trident, 2010, Eurathlon 2012) totaling over £1.5M of research funding. He has also worked closely with MOD and DSTL on defense related projects and secured a number of EPSRC projects in the robotics and signal processing areas, including the ongoing USMART project.

Dr. Michael Mistry - Planning, Control & Manipulation

Dr. Michael Mistry

Dr. Michael Mistry is a Reader in Robotics within the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh and Co-Director of the recently renewed £18m CDT in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CDT-RAS) led by The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR). The funding from EPSRC and industry will train 90 PhD students - in five cohorts - over the next eight years. Research will focus on safety and safe interaction between robots, people and their environments.

Michael's past work covers a variety of locomotion over challenging terrain and autonomous robotics systems with a particular focus on the humanoids. His current research focuses on issues relevant to dexterous movement in both humans and humanoid robots, including redundancy resolution and inverse kinematics, operational space control and manipulation, stochastic optimal control and internal model learning and control, particularly in environmental contact. His current work within the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics involves the control of dynamic behaviours of humanoids.

Prof. Helen Hastie

Helen Hastie is a Professor of Computer Science at the School of Mathematical and Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University and a Leverhulme/RAEng Senior Research Fellow.

Prof. Hastie leads ORCA work package 3 and is an international expert on interactive systems and human-robot interaction (HRI), working on methods for natural communication between users and systems through speech and gesture. She has over 20 years of experience in designing, building and evaluating multimodal and HRI systems, focusing on data-driven techniques and working both in academia and industry.

Professor Hastie is also the Director for the recently renewed £18m EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CDT-RAS) at The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR). The funding from EPSRC and industry will train 80 PhD students - in five cohorts - over the next eight years. Research will focus on safety and safe interaction between robots, people and their environments.

Professor David Flynn - Robot & Asset Self-Certification

Prof. David Flynn

Professor David Flynn is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University where he also founded the Smart Systems Group (SSG) whose activities involve multidisciplinary expertise in sensor technologies, manufacturing and embedded intelligence to create Smart Systems.

David is also Eminent Overseas Professor of Nagasaki University, a founder and Associate Director of the EPSRC National Centre for Energy System Integration and Deputy Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence. His expertise is in the research and development of novel sensors and intelligent sensor systems which he has applied to broad field of applications including energy, medical, offshore assets and environmental monitoring.

He also holds a UK patent for High Frequency Piezoelectric Ultrasound Transducer Arrays, for medical imaging applications.

Professor David Lane - Former ORCA Hub Director (2017-2021)

Capability Demonstrations:

ORCA is committed to showing stakeholders the progress being made across its Research Themes via regular agile demonstrations which contribute to the Capability Challenges laid out at the start of the project.