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Dr Ze Ji

Dr Ze Ji

Senior lecturer
Teaching and research

School of Engineering

+44 (0)29 2087 0017
Room C/1.07, Queen's Buildings - South Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Available for postgraduate supervision


I maintain my personal website externally. 
I am a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University, specialising in robotics and autonomous systems. I have held multiple positions as a robotics and autonomous systems researcher and engineer in both academia and industry (Dyson, Lenovo, and Autonomous Surface Vehicles). My PhD was sponsored as part of the EU FP6 project, TAI- CHI (Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer Human Interaction), which won the best exhibit prize of EU FP6 exhibition in Helsinki, Finland, in 2006.
I have very broad experience in robotics, including indoor mobile robots, humanoid robots, and outdoor unmanned autonomous surface vehicles. In particular, I have been focusing on research areas of simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM), computer vision, state estimation, acoustic and tactile sensing, machine learning, swarm intelligence, robot task planning and knowledge representation.
At Dyson, as a robotics systems engineer, I have filed and published patents in the area of mobile robotics. The main project there was the Dyson 360 robot, which utilises a 360 camera for indoor localisation and mapping (Visual SLAM). I worked at Lenovo on service robotics, as a Robotic Systems Architect and Technical Leader of a team of 10 researchers and engineers with background of machine learning, computer vision, slam, cloud, and IoT. At ASV (Autonomous Surface Vehicles), I have successfully, as a core research member, delivered several projects funded by innovate UK, DSTL, and NOC/SBRI.
Before these, I had been working as a research fellow in academia for a number of EU FP6 & FP7 projects, such as TAI-CHI, IWARD (Intelligent Robot Swarm for Attendance, Recognition, Cleaning, and Delivery), ROBOSKIN (Skin-based technologies and capabilities for safe, autonomous and interactive robots), and SRS (Multi-Role Shadow Robotic System for Independent Living).

Robotics and Autonomous Systems Laboratory

I am also the manager of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Laboratory. The laboratory has cutting-edge equipment for teaching and research.
  • One Care-o-bot 4 (advanced service robot)
  • Two Kuka lbr iiwa collaborative robots
  • Three Kuka youbot (mobile robots)
  • Several small turtlebots
  • And various advanced sensors used for robot navigation and multi-modal human-robot interaction

Here is the group Github account for projects carried out with our RoPAL team.



  • 2007: PhD (Systems Engineering) Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  • 2003: MSc (Computer Science) University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  • 2001: BEng (Electronic Engineering), Jilin University, China

Honours and awards

  • Won the best Exhibit for the EU FP6 project TAI-CHI "Tangible Acoustic Interface for Human Computer Interaction" in EC IST Exhibition, Helsinki, Finland, 2006
  • Best paper award, TAROS, Bristol, 2018
  • Second Prize in the International Marine Vehicle Design and Construction Invitational Contest 2019, Harbin, China

Professional memberships

  • Member of IEEE
  • Member of the British Machine Vision Association (BMVA)
  • Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Member of The Society of Research Software Engineering

Academic positions

  • 2020 - present: Senior Lecturer of robotics and autonomous systems, Cardiff University
  • 2016 - 2020: Lecturer of robotics and autonomous systems, Cardiff University
  • 2014 - 2016: Unmanned Systems Engineer (R&D), ASV ltd
  • 2013 - 2014: Robotics Systems Engineer (R&D), Dyson Ltd
  • 2009 - 2011: Research Fellow, Adaptive System Research Group, University of Hertfordshire
  • 2007 - 2013: Research Fellow, Cardiff University

Speaking engagements

Committees and reviewing

  • Regional chair and session chair of IEEE ICCSE 2021 
  • Associate Editor of IEEE Access (since 2020)
  • International Programme Committee of KES 2021 conference
  • Reviewer of several international journals, including IEEE Sensors Journal, IEEE Transactions on Robotics/Automation Science and Engineering, Journal of Field Robotics, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Measurement Science and Technology, and several major conferences, including ICRA, IROS, CASE etc

















  • EN3062 Robotics and Image Processing (Module leader)
  • EN4062 Advanced Robotics (Module leader)
  • EN4110 Mechatronics Design


  • EN4110 Mechatronics Design
  • EN3062 Robotics and Image Processing
  • EN4062 Advanced Robotics
  • ENT604 Measurement Systems (Module Leader)


  • EN4100 Mechatronics Design
  • EN4062 Advanced Robotics
  • ENT604 Measurement Systems (Module Leader)


  • EN4100 Mechatronics Design
  • ENT604 Measurement Systems
  • Others, including Design and Lab







Ze Ji

Industry (Spirent) - Full-time PhD studentship


Robust GNSS-based autonomous navigation

2021 - 2024

Haijiang Li, Ze Ji (Co-I, Knowledge Supervisor), Abhishek Kundu

Innovate UK/KTP


BIM and Digital Twins in support of Smart Bridge Structural Surveying

Sep 2021-Sep 2024

Ze Ji

Royal Society


Active Robot Learning for Subtractive, Formative, and Additive Manipulations of Granular and Viscous Materials

09 Mar 2020 - 08 Mar 2021

Setchi, R., Ji, Z., (ENGIN)

Jones, D., Morgan, P., (PSYCH)

Allen, S., Eslambolchilar, P. (COMSC)



Research Centre in AI, Robotics and Human-Machine Systems (IROHMS)

1 Apr 19 – 1 Sept 23

Bigot, S., Ji, Z., Packianather, M., Kerfriden, P.

EU H2020

€ 476,000

Additive Manufacturing using Metal Pilot Line (MANUELA)

Oct 2018 - Sep 2022

Setchi, R., Ji, Z., Evans, S.



Deep Learning Enabled Wing Box Inspection (DEWI)

1 Jul 19 – 30 Sep 19

Ji Z (PI), Setchi R, Bigot S

Renishaw and Cardiff University Strategic Fund


3D characterisation of ALM processes

01 Apr 2019 - 31 Mar 2020

Ji Z (PI), Wu J, Setchi R.

Renishaw and Cardiff University Strategic Fund

£40,000 cash funding from the strategic partnership fund (total project value: £101,332)

Pushing the boundary of vision-based 3D surface imaging

01 Apr 2018 - 31 Mar 2019

Setchi R., Ji Z.

WEFO through ASTUTE and Industry

£884,673 including £652,661 from Continental and £232,012 from WEFO

Additive Manufacturing and Robotics to Support Improved Response to Increased Flexibility

02 Feb 2018 – 01 Feb 19

Research Areas

Robot Reinforcement Learning:

Reinforcement Learning is a new emerging area that paves a new direction to allow robots to learn new skills for situations when hand-coding is not suitable.

The current work aims to research and develop a self-learning system for a robot to manipulate objects in cluttered workspace for tasks that require multiple steps. 

Watch a video of the research on YouTube

The following video shows the work of using Reinforcement Learning to train a robot to navigate and avoid collision. 

Watch the video of the research on YouTube

Mobile Robots:

One of my most valuable experience in this area is the work on the Dyson 360 Robot project. My interests include Robot Autonomous Navigation, Visual SLAM, Visual Servoing, and Vision Odometry

Watch a video of the research on YouTube

Another project is the EU FP7 project, SRS, which focused on the development and prototyping of remotely-controlled, semi-autonomous robotic solutions in domestic environments to support elderly people.

SRS project (Service Robot)

Autonomous Vehicles:

As part of my teaching activities (Mechatronics module), I led a few team of students in the past years to build USVs (Unmanned Surface Vehicle) and UAVs.

Watch a video of the research on YouTube

Related research includes robot behaviours, such as computer vision and sensor fusion for collision avoidance, vehicle collaboration, situation awareness and action planning.

Sensing (Acoustic Localisation for Human Computer Interaction):

This is my very early research for my PhD project, which is part of a EU FP6 project, "Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer Human Interaction".

Tactile Sensing and Human Robot Interaction:

This is also my early research working as a research fellow for the EU FP7 project, RoboSkin, developing machine learning algorithms for recognising the types of human touch using large scale tactile sensors.


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

  • State Estimation for autonomous navigation, e.g. SLAM
  • Robotic Perception / Sensing / Visual Servoing for grasping and manipulation
  • Robot Learning (Reinforcement Learning)
  • Computer Vision / 3D Imaging
  • Tactile Sensing

Current supervision

Prasad Rayamane

Prasad Rayamane

Research student


Xintong Yang

Research student

Njuod Alsudays

Research student

Tao Wang

Research student


Léopold Le Roux

Research student