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A second edition was published this year.

PhD student topics

Right now I


'm looking for


PhD students

in the areas of text recognition for robots, and long-term (persistent) navigation for robots.
Contact me if you are interested.Why am I here

to work on any of the following questions (or related):

  • How can we split robot navigation functionality between a small/cheap local computer and a wireless network connection to a cloud computing resource? How do minimise the amount of data transmitted and handle latency?
  • How do we reduce the energy consumption of a robot vision system? Do we need to pay attention to all the pixels all the time, or can we somehow pay attention to the important stuff? Could we create the equivalent of an operating system, a vision operating system, that allocates "attention" according to the task at hand?
  • How should robots move to get the best view of what's interesting to them. Move to eliminate a specular reflection or to some obstacle out of the way?
  • How can robots reach for and pick up various shaped objects in a fast, graceful and natural way?
  • Visual simulators. If we create robots that see, how can we test their operation under all viewing conditions? What do we couple high fidelity virtual worlds to robot controllers, and how do we evaluate robot performance?

If you are thinking about applying you can find details about admission to QUT here. For:

  • Australian students there is no tuition fee, but you need a living allowing. You are eligible to apply for a scholarship, the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). These are quite competitive, based on your GPA, but with extra points for research (eg. a Masters degree by research, and/or publication of a research paper).
  • Overseas students you need to pay a tuition fee (~AUD25k/year) and show you have a living allowance (~AUD25k/year). You can apply for a scholarship that would cover tuition as well a living allowance. These are limited in number and very competitive, based on your grades, but with extra points for research (eg. a Masters degree by research, and/or publication of a research paper).

My students


  • Will Chamberlain is working on middle for robotic vision systems
  • John Skinner is working on using photorealistic computer graphics to help create better vision systems
  • Fangyi Zhang is working on deep reinforcement learning for visual robot control
  • Dan Richards is working on ultra low light imaging for robotic navigation
  • Dorian Tsai is working on light field imaging for low-light imaging and specularity removal
  • Peter Kujala is working on ultra high speed hand-eye coordination

Past students and theses:

Erdos number


Image Added

My day job

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My book was published this yearin 2011, visit its website.

Looking for PhD students

Image AddedMy Erdos number is no more than 3. The paths that I know about are:
  • Erdos -> Mark Goldberg -> Seyit Camtepe -> me (QUT path)
  • Erdos -> Subbarao -> Vidyasagar -> (Spong|Hutchinson) -> me (Illinois path)
  • Erdos -> Noga Alon -> Erik Demain -> Daniela Rus -> me (MIT path)
  • Teaching EGB439
  • Developing more MOOCs for FutureLearn and participating in existing MOOCs
  • Launching the Robot Academy
  • Updating Robotics Toolbox and Machine Vision Toolbox for MATLAB
  • Mid-term review of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision


I post a bit on Google+.

Very occasional blog


What do I do?

I am interested in how robots can use the sense of vision to accomplish a broad range of tasks. These might range from recognizing places or text in the world to dynamic tasks. An example of a visual dynamic task is something like hand-eye coordination, and for a robot it might be visual control of flying or driving or manipulation of objects manipulation of objects or driving/piloting a mobile robot on land, air or underwater.

Why vision not GPS? GPS has limitations: there are lots of places it won't work and it only tells where the robot is, not the things the robot needs to deal with. We do all manner of complex tasks without GPS and coordinates using relative position determined by our eyes. Nature has invented the eye ten different times so it must be an effective sensor for doing a diverse range of tasks. Vision sensors and computing power are getting cheaper and cheaper. Now is the time to be doing vision for robotics!

Some specific topics of interest include:

  • The use of visual information for controlling robot motion, a technique known as visual servoing.
  • Very wide field-of-view cameras based on fisheye lens and lens/mirror (catadioptric) optical systems.
  • Optical flow, how images from a moving robot can be used to infer the world's 3D structure and the robot's motion
  • Computer architectures for implementing computer vision algorithms in real time
  • Stereo vision, using information from one or more cameras to create the 3D world structure.
  • Vision processing within networks of cameras.

and in the non-vision category:

  • Wireless sensor networks and applications, particularly environmental management
  • The combination with robotics to create mobile sensing systems
  • Aerial robots
  • Robotics; control architectures, sensor-based control
  • Real-time distributed computer applications

My students

Past students and theses:



School of Engineering Systems
Queensland University of Technology
Gardens Point, S Block 1127
Street: 2 George Street, Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA 4000
Postal: PO Box 2434, Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA 4001
phone: + 61 7 3138 1794
fax: + 61 7 3138 1469


Our research centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision, is pushing the envelope in this area – more details at


You can find lists of my publications in quite a few places. I've published over 400 papers and have over 20,000 citations and h-index > 60.


At QUT I developed "Introduction to Robotics" (EGB339) and "Advanced Robotics" (EGB439) and have taught them several times, as well as "Advanced Control" (ENB458).

I'm really interested in teaching at scale using internet technologies such as MOOCs:

  • In 2015-16 we ran two six-week MOOCs on the edcast platform: Introduction to Robotics, and Robotic Vision. These were university undergraduate-level courses.
  • Since 2016 we've migrated a simplified subset of these courses as multi-course programs on the FutureLearn platform
  • In 2017 we launched the QUT Robot Academy which has over 200 video lessons (5-10 minute videos) that are the edcast MOOC content. Free to access and available 24x7.


I've been working on two MOOCs: Introduction to Robotics, and Robotic Vision. They kick off 16 Feb 2015. More details and registration are here.

Brief bio

I joined Queensland University of Technology at the start of 2010 as a Professor of Robotic Vision. I'm now also director of the ARC funded Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision. I'm known for my research in vision-based robot control, field robotics and wireless sensor networks.

I received a B.Eng and M.Eng.Sc. degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, and a PhD in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, all from the University of Melbourne.

I am a fellow of the IEEE, editor-in-chief of the IEEE Robotics & Automation magazine, and recipient of the Qantas/Rolls-Royce and Australian Engineering Excellence awards.

Prior to QUT I was a senior principal research scientist at CSIRO where I founded the Autonomous Systems laboratory, a 50-person team undertaking research in mining, ground, aerial and underwater robotics, as well as sensor networks. I subsequently led a major cross-organizational "capability platform" in wireless sensor networks.

I have held visiting positions at the GRASP laboratory at U.Pennsylvania (1988-9), U. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1999), Robotics Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University (2003), and the Mobile Robotics Group at Oxford University (2009).

More bio on my QUT profile page.

More bio on my QUT profile page, Wikipedia  or my full Vitae (PDF).

See also my YouTube channel, or follow me on Google+ or LinkedIn (sorry, I won't accept invitations unless we've actually met).



School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Queensland University of Technology
Gardens Point, S Block 1127
Street: 2 George Street, Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA 4000
Postal: PO Box 2434, Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA 4001
phone: + 61 7 3138 1794
fax: + 61 7 3138 1469

Professional and Group Associations

Scientific Community Service

  • Member of external advisory board for CONET, the EU research network on cooperating objects
  • Publications

    Check out:

    Erdos number

    My Erdos number is at most 4.

    Erdos -> Subbarao -> Vidyasagar -> (Spong|Hutchinson) -> me (Illinois path)
    Erdos -> Noga Alon -> Erik Demain -> Daniela Rus -> me (MIT path)

    Some things I worked on 2011


    Things I'm working on this year


    This semester I'm teaching the machine vision part of ENB339 in weeks 9 through 12.

    Where's Peter

    The calendar below contains my current planned/possible overseas travel.

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    Blog Posts
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