Robert Siddall

Robert Siddall
University of Surrey · Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

About

37
Publications
6,945
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
505
Citations
Citations since 2017
34 Research Items
481 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
Introduction
Currently working on the biomechanics of gliding flight in small animals and tackling pollution problems with robots. *** PhD Positions available! *** Machine Learning and Biomimetic flight: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/learning2fly/?p150715 *** Robotic Ecosystem Monitoring: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/scenario-a-robotic-ecologist-for-automated-habitat-monitoring-sc2023-40/?p150113
Additional affiliations
February 2019 - October 2020
Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
Position
  • Fellow
Description
  • Working as an engineer in a biological context, collaborating with museums and zoologists to analyse animal data while simultaneously developing miniature robots: https://www.is.mpg.de/en/employees/robert
September 2017 - February 2019
Haybeesee
Position
  • Engineer
Description
  • Startup company developing a unique agricultural robot: https://www.futurefarming.com/Machinery/Articles/2020/5/Jumping-robot-helps-farming-robotics-take-leap-forward-583469E/
Education
February 2013 - February 2017
Imperial College London
Field of study
  • Aeronautics
October 2008 - May 2012
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Engineering

Publications

Publications (37)
Preprint
Full-text available
Biomimetic and Bioinspired design is not only a potent resource for roboticists looking to develop robust engineering systems or understand the natural world. It is also a uniquely accessible entry point into science and technology. Every person on Earth constantly interacts with nature, and most people have an intuitive sense of animal and plant b...
Chapter
The previous chapters presented hybrid robot concepts and prototypes relying on the use of fixed wings for lift generation. The higher flight efficiency of such devices makes them suitable for covering large distances and can even serve to extend their locomotion envelope (see Chap. 11).
Chapter
This book would not be complete without a chapter on practical hardware and software elements used throughout the presented robots. We hope that this can serve as a rough toolbox for aerial-aquatic vehicle development, and cover some of the prototyping choices that are often under-reported in academic literature, but consume outsize research time.
Chapter
A wealth of research exists into the broader question of how robotic mobility can be expanded beyond a single domain/terrain. A significant amount of recent research attention has been given to the implementation of aerial-terrestrial mobility into miniature robots [94], resulting in mobile robots with shared subsystems and additional mechanisms wh...
Chapter
We live on a water-covered planet that is facing rapid change, both globally and locally, due to a combination of human behaviour and natural phenomena [31]. Understanding these changes requires in-depth scientific understanding of our environment. Key to enabling this is the fast, accurate and repeated provision of extensive physical data. However...
Chapter
Having measured the longitudinal aerodynamics of the AquaMAV in wind tunnel tests (cf. Chap. 7), the data gathered can then be used to analyse the dive performance of the vehicle, as well as estimate and evaluate its dynamic properties. As in Sect. 6.4, we begin by considering a quasi-steady state model, where, furthermore, the aerial and aquatic p...
Chapter
This book introduces the concept of small, unmanned aerial-aquatic robotics. This novel field of research aims to merge the benefits of flight and aquatic operation into one lightweight autonomous platform. As the reader will have seen in this book, wildly different robots can be envisioned as solutions to this formidable challenge.
Chapter
In a previous chapter an idealised water jet thruster was analysed, and it was argued that the most effective system would use large pressures to drive a small volume of water. In this chapter a more detailed physical model of water jet propulsion will be introduced, and the key design features of a jet thruster prototype detailed. Consistent stati...
Chapter
Most animals use different forms of locomotion to move through a varied environment. This allows them to adapt to find food, escape threats or migrate, while minimising their energetic cost of locomotion. To do so, animals must use the same locomotor modules to perform specialised tasks that often have opposed requirements. For example, an animal d...
Chapter
Several systems have been developed with aerial-aquatic locomotion capabilities but without demonstrating consecutive transitions to flight from water. Moreover, while some multirotor vehicles possess the ability to operate in both air and water [108, 109], the transition to flight is typically constrained to very calm sea conditions. Fixed-wing ro...
Chapter
In the previous chapters, aquatic launch and dives into water with small flying robots have been demonstrated. An AquaMAV prototype was presented which was capable of self propelled-flight in air and able to escape water, but this robot had no means of propelling itself beneath the surface. To add aquatic locomotion it is attractive to use the same...
Chapter
The field of aerial-aquatic robotics promises tremendous benefits in data collection as well as unmatched flexibility and remote access. However, the majority of existing aerial-aquatic robots are unable to perform scientific tasks at significant depth, limited by the weight penalty that any pressure resistant container would add. In addition, seal...
Chapter
In this chapter the design of a plunge diving AquaMAV is detailed. This enhanced AquaMAV prototype is capable of propelled flight, wing retraction for diving into water and jet propelled aquatic escape. The selection process for key components is detailed, as well as the specific attributes necessary for aerial-aquatic locomotion. The AquaMAV inclu...
Chapter
This chapter presents an overview of some fundamental physical laws and concepts at play in generic, as clarified in Figs. 5.1 and 5.2. The vehicle-specific physics are then introduced in the following chapters and form the basis for locomotion derived for the different vehicles presented.
Chapter
Water covers 363 million square km, or 72% of the earth’s surface. The vast majority of this water is saline (96%), frozen (2%) or groundwater (1%). The 10\(^5\) km\(^3\) of surface freshwater (0.008%) is in turn concentrated almost entirely in three large great lake systems (Fig. 3.1), with a vanishing small amount of surface freshwater forming la...
Book
This book reports on the state of the art in the field of aerial-aquatic locomotion, focusing on the main challenges concerning the translation of this important ability from nature to synthetic systems, and describing innovative engineering solutions that have been applied in practice by the authors at the Aerial Robotics Lab of Imperial College L...
Article
Full-text available
Animals use diverse solutions to land on vertical surfaces. Here we show the unique landing of the gliding gecko, Hemidactylus platyurus. Our high-speed video footage in the Southeast Asian rainforest capturing the first recorded, subcritical, short-range glides revealed that geckos did not markedly decrease velocity prior to impact. Unlike special...
Article
Full-text available
Arboreal animals face numerous challenges when negotiating complex three dimensional terrain. Directed aerial descent or gliding flight allows for rapid traversal of arboreal environments, but presents control challenges. Some animals, such as birds or gliding squirrels, have specialized structures to modulate aerodynamic forces while airborne. How...
Article
Full-text available
Arboreal mammals navigate a highly three dimensional and discontinuous habitat. Among arboreal mammals, squirrels demonstrate impressive agility. In a recent 'viral' YouTube video, unsuspecting squirrels were mechanically catapulted off of a track, inducing an initially uncontrolled rotation of the body. Interestingly, they skillfully stabilized th...
Article
Full-text available
Locomotion in unstructured and irregular environments is an enduring challenge in robotics. This is particularly true at the small scale, where relative obstacle size increases, often to the point that a robot is required to climb and transition both over obstacles and between locomotion modes. In this paper, we explore the efficacy of different de...
Article
Full-text available
Soft robotics can be used not only as a means of achieving novel, more lifelike forms of locomotion, but also as a tool to understand complex biomechanics through the use of robotic model animals. Herein, the control of the undulation mechanics of an entirely soft robotic subcarangiform fish is presented, using antagonistic fast-PneuNet actuators a...
Chapter
Full-text available
Bioinspired aerial robots abstract adaptations found in natural flyers to enhance the performance and capabilities of synthetic flying systems. There is an incredibly diversity of animals which use aerial locomotion to move through their environment, and bioinspiration requires a significant breadth of understanding, covering the cutting edge of re...
Presentation
Ted-Ed animated lesson on flying squid: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/these-squids-can-fly-no-really-robert-siddall
Article
Full-text available
Robotic vehicles that are capable of autonomously transitioning between various terrains and fluids have received notable attention in the past decade due to their potential to navigate previously unexplored and/or unpredictable environments. Specifically, aerial-aquatic mobility will enable robots to operate in cluttered aquatic environments and c...
Chapter
Full-text available
The addition of external mass onto an organism can be used to examine the salient features of inherent locomotion dynamics. In this biorobotics study general principles of systems in motion are explored experimentally to gain insight on observed biodiversity in body plans and prevalent cranio-caudal mass distributions. Head and tail mass can make u...
Article
Despite significant research progress on small-scale aerial–aquatic robots, most existing prototypes are still constrained by short operation times and limited performance in different fluids. The main challenge is to design a vehicle that satisfies the partially conflicting design requirements for aerial and aquatic operations. In this letter we p...
Chapter
Full-text available
The ability to move between air and water with miniature robots would allow distributed water sampling and monitoring of a variety of unstructured marine environments, such as coral reefs and coastal areas. To enable such applications, we are developing a new class of aerial-aquatic robots, called Aquatic Micro Aerial Vehicles (AquaMAVs), capable o...
Chapter
Full-text available
The application of soft architectures in robotics offers the potential to reduce control complexity while increasing versatility, performance and robustness of robot operation. However, current aerial robots tend to have rigid body structures, and rely predominantly on abundant sensing and dynamic closed loop control to fly. In contrast, flying ani...
Article
Full-text available
Aerial-Aquatic locomotion would allow a broad array of tasks in robot enabled environmental monitoring or disaster management. One of the most significant challenges of aerial-aquatic locomotion in mobile robots is finding a propulsion system that is capable of working effectively in both fluids, and transitioning between them. The large difference...
Article
Aerial robots capable of locomotion in both air and water would enable novel mission profiles in complex environments, such as water sampling after floods or underwater structural inspections. The design of such a vehicle is challenging because it implies significant propulsive and structural design trade-offs for operation in both fluids. In this...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to collect water samples rapidly with aerial-aquatic robots would increase the safety and efficiency of water health monitoring, and allow water sample collection from dangerous or inaccessible areas. An Aquatic Micro Air Vehicle (AquaMAV) able to dive into the water offers a low-cost and robust means of collecting samples. However, sma...
Article
Full-text available
Water sampling with autonomous aerial vehicles has major applications in water monitoring and chemical accident response. Currently, no robot exists that is capable of both underwater locomotion and flight. This is principally because of the major design tradeoffs for operation in both water and air. A major challenge for such an aerial-aquatic mis...
Article
Full-text available
Current Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) are greatly limited by being able to operate in air only. Designing multimodal MAVs that can fly effectively, dive into the water and retake flight would enable applications of distributed water quality monitoring, search and rescue operations and underwater exploration. While some can land on water, no technolo...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Project (1)
Project
An opportunity for anyone to have their idea for a bioinspired robot be turned into a reality! If you've ever watched animal (or plant!) and thought 'Why can't we do it that way?', this is the place for you: www.naturalroboticscontest.com. Perhaps a robotic woodpecker that checks trees for disease? Maybe a robot falcon protecting the eggs of sea turtles? Or a mechanical plant that reinforces a riverbank? A team of robotics researchers are asking for drawings of robots inspired by nature, and we will be turning the winning design into a real, working prototype this summer Our main aim is to foster interest in biomimicry, and to let in some creativity from outside of engineering research offices - I often get some great impromptu pitches when I’m visiting schools / talking to the public, so this is a chance to take something off the drawing board that might not otherwise get made. Fee free to get in touch if you’d like to know more!