Skip to main content
Dr Juan D. Hernandez Vega

Dr Juan D. Hernandez Vega


School of Engineering

Room E/3.25, Queen's Buildings - East Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the School of Engineering at Cardiff University. I am also part of the Research Centre in AI, Robotics and Human-Machine Systems (IROHMS).

Before joining Cardiff University, I had worked in robotics for more than 10 years. During my BSc in electronic engineering (in Cali, Colombia), I worked on developing computationally efficient algorithms to model and simulate a biped robot under the supervision of Prof. Andrés Jaramillo-Botero. Then, during my MSc in robotics and automation (Madrid, Spain) and under the supervision of Prof. Antonio Barrientos, I designed and built a robotic sphere (ROSPHERE), including its software and hardware architectures. Then, I moved to Girona (Catalonia, Spain) to work at a well-known underwater robotics laboratory (CIRS), where I conducted my doctoral research in motion planning for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) under the guidance of Prof. Marc Carreras. In my doctoral research, I focused on AUVs that do not have any a priori map and are required to build one online, while safely navigating through unexplored environments.

After completing my PhD in 2017, I joined TNO (Helmond, Netherlands), where I worked as a research robotics engineer. At TNO I was the technical leader for automated valet parking applications. After this experience in industry, I joined Prof. Lydia E. Kavraki's laboratory at Rice University (Houston, USA) in 2018. My research at Rice was mainly focused on developing motion planning techniques to endow robots with better decision-making capabilities for human-robot collaboration scenarios. After completing my postdoctoral research, I joined Apple Inc. and its Special Projects Group (SPG) in 2019. At Apple, I was a senior engineer and I worked on developing tools for simulation of autonomous systems.



    Honours and awards

    • 2019: Extraordinary ability nonimmigrant visa (O-1), USA
    • 2019: Elevated to IEEE Senior Member Grade
    • 2017: Outstanding Cum Laude Distinction in PhD Thesis, University of Girona
    • 2016: IEEE-RAS Travel Grant to International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). Daejeon, Korea
    • 2015: University of Girona’s team member, first place in the European Robotics Grand Challenge (euRathlon). Piombino, Italy
    • 2015: IEEE-RAS Travel Grant to International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). Seattle, USA
    • 2014: University of Girona’s team member, first place in European sea challenge (euRathlon). La Spezia, Italy
    • 2013-2017: PhD Scholarship Program awarded by Colciencias (Colombian science and technology department)
    • 2009: Honor Distinction for Academic and Humanistic Excellence, Pontifical Xavierian University
    • 2009: Honor Distinction for Excellence in Graduation Work. “Kinematics and Dynamics Model of a Walking Robot,” Pontifical Xavierian University
    • 2006: Dean’s Award, academic excellence, Pontifical Xavierian University
    • 2006: Dean’s Award, extracurricular activities as Chair of the IEEE Student Branch, Pontifical Xavierian University

    Professional memberships

    • Senior Member of IEEE and its Robotics and Automation Society

    Academic positions

    • 2020 - present: Lecturer, Cardiff University
    • 2019 - 2020: Senior Engineer, Apple Inc
    • 2018 - 2019: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Rice University (Houston, USA)
    • 2017 - 2018: Robotics Research Engineer, TNO (Helmond, Netherlands)
    • 2013 - 2017: Junior Researcher, CIRS and ViCOROB at University of Girona (Catalonia, Spain)
    • 2010 - 2012: Research Assistant, CAR UPM-CSIC (Madrid, Spain)

    Speaking engagements

    • Invited speaker at Congreso Internacional de Ingeniería Mecatrónica y Automatización (CIIMA), Universidad Nacional, (Bogotá, Colombia), May 8-10, 2019
    • Invited speaker at Texas System Day (TSD), Texas A&M, (College Station, TX, USA), April 5, 2019
    • Invited spearker at Congreso Internacional de Innovación y Tendencias de Ingeniería (CONIITI), Universidad Católica de Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia), August 24–26, 2016

    Committees and reviewing

    • 2020 - present: Associated Editor of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L)

    Referee for the following journals:

    • IEEE Transactions on Robotics
    • IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
    • IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
    • IEEE Access
    • IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
    • Journal of Field Robotics.
    • MDPI Sensors
    • Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems.
    • Automatica.

    Referee for the following conferences:

    • IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).
    • IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).
    • Conferencia Internacional de Ambientes Virtuales de Aprendizaje Adaptativos y Accesibles (CAVA).
    • Congreso Internacional de Innovaci ́on y Tendencias en Ingeniería (CONIITI).











    Supervision Areas 

    I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

    • Path/motion planning for robotic and autonomous systems
    • Shared autonomy for robotic and autonomous systems
    • Robot social navigation
    • Human-robot interaction/collaboration
    • Field Robotics
    • Robot learning

    Current Supervision

    Current PhD students at Cardiff University:

    • Mr Samuelson Atiba: Supervisory Control Of Multi-Agent Autonomous Systems
    • Mr Nitin Shinde: Shared Perception for Human-Robot Collaboration

    Current MSc/PhD students in collaboration with National University of Colombia:

    • Mr Felipe Gonzalez Roldan (PhD student)
    • Mr Juan S. Hernandez Reyes (MSc student): Reinforcement Learning for Robot Navigation

    Current PhD student in collaboration with Universidad Autónoma de Occidente (Colombia):

    • Mr Juan S. Mosquera Maturana: Social Navigation Systems for Inclusive Guide Robots

    Current MSc students in collaboration with the University of Antwerp:

    • Ms Daniëlle Jongstra: Learning-based Robot Social Navigation
    • Mr Wei Wei: Grasping Regions through Learning and Computer Vision Techniques
    • Mr Kristof Egghe: Robot Manipulation in Clutter with Deep Reinforcement Learning