Dr Bilal Kaddouh

Profile

My research career started at the University of Manchester where I was awarded a PhD in Aerospace Engineering in 2016. I had previously achieved a MSc in Robotics from King's College London in 2011 where I was awarded the Best Overall Student Award for being the best overall student on all Mechanical Engineering MSc programs at King’s College London. I obtained a BEng in Electrical and computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut in 2010 where I learned the basic engineering skills and sculpted my passion for robotics. I started a journey in aerial robotics research to bring the technology forwards to a stage where it can be taken from the lab into making an impact in the real world. As part of my PhD and Research Associate post at the University of Manchester I designed, implemented and demonstrated multi-robot mission management and resource allocation systems including cooperation between aerial, ground and water surface robots. I delivered a successful live demonstration of an autonomous robotic accident response system at the ship canal in front of MediaCityUK in June 2015. The demonstration represented a scenario of an accident in the ship canal that has been autonomously responded to and managed by a multi-robot system. Vehicles included autonomous boats and aircraft cooperating together. During my research work, I have acquired a wide experience in autonomous UAS development and operation and have been involved in numerous flight tests. I organized a number of flight campaigns and operated UASs in Manchester, Leeds, Wortley, Uttoxeter and Llanbedr Airport (UAS Centre).

Besides my academic duties I feel it is the responsibility of academics to provide the new younger generations with guidance and support, hence I was appointed as a Widening Participation Fellow for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Manchester from 2014 until I graduated. I was responsible for developing and delivering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workshops that excite and enthuse young pupils to consider taking a degree in physical sciences or engineering in higher education. In addition, I was responsible for advising school students on engineering career prospects. I was awarded the Better World Awards 2016 for outstanding contribution to widening participation.

Funding is a key driver behind successful academic research, therefore, I contributed to a number of grants proposals during my work at the university of Manchester and currently contributing to new grants at the University of Leeds. I have significantly contributed to the successful EPSRC proposal EP/P009743/1 (2017) entitled HOME-Offshore (Holistic Operation and Maintenance for Energy from Offshore Wind Farms) and led by Prof. Mike Barnes (University of Manchester) with a value of £3 million. 

Bilal is a qualified drone operator with 5 years’ experience.

Responsibilities

  • SUAS Operations Manager and Chief Pilot

Research interests

My principle research interest is centered around the field of robotics and unmanned systems design, management and control.  I am currently investigating the design of aerial robotics systems for autonomous inspection and maintenance of cities infrastructure. My research is focused on applied engineering problems hence flight testing and robotic demonstrations make up a good part of my work. Cities of the future are adopting robots as an integral part of their day to day operation. People got used to interact with robots in smart warehouses and manufacturing plants, but today they need to start getting used to the sight of a robot fixing a road or maintaining a building. It is my duty as a researcher to design systems and prototypes that will allow the autonomous operation of aerial and ground robots working together to maintain the infrastructure that people rely upon for their day to day life.

My future research plans are to build on the foundations of my PhD and Postdoc research to further investigate the autonomous application of unmanned systems in future societies. In particular I am interested in the impact that robotic systems may have on preserving the environment and protecting wildlife so that the future generations may find an earth worth living in.

Finally, having successfully employed multiple heterogeneous platforms together (Aerial, Water and Ground) in several field experiments, gave me the confidence and the experience to design new specialized systems that are made to operate in real environment and not just in a sterilised lab. Bridging the field know-how together with the research and technical knowledge is highly beneficial to the aerial robotics research and a key to its success.

Qualifications

  • PhD Aerospace Engineeing
  • MSc Robotics Engineering
  • BEng Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Unmanned Aircraft Qualification

Professional memberships

  • Member of IEEE
  • MIET
  • MAIAA

Research groups and institutes

  • Pollard Institute
  • Robotics at Leeds
  • Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation
  • Institute of Robotics, Autonomous Systems and Sensing

Publications:

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