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Dr Ze Ji

Dr Ze Ji

Senior lecturer
Teaching and research

School of Engineering

Email
jiz1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 0017
Campuses
Room C/1.07, Queen's Buildings - South Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I am a senior lecturer at Cardiff University, specialised 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 (quite empty so far) carried out with our RoPAL team.

Biography

Education

  • 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

  • 2016 - present: Lecturer in 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

Publications

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2007

Teaching

2019-2020

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

2018-2019

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

2017-2018

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

2016-2017

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

Contracts

Investigators

Sponsor

Value

Title

Duration

Ze Ji

Royal Society

£17,812

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)

ERDF/WEFO

£1,800,000

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.

Endevr/Airbus

£61,000

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

£39,986

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

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 in 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 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 in 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.

Supervision

*** EPSRC DTP studentship available *** for research in Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (PhD project starts Oct 2020). Project and application details can be found here. Application deadline: 30 June 2020.

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
  • Computer Vision / 3D Imaging
  • Acoustic Localisation

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