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Professor Robert Sutton
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Professor of Control Systems Engineering
BEng(Tech), MEng, PhD
Robert Sutton holds the degrees of BEng(Tech) in Engineering Production, and MEng and PhD in Control Engineering from the University of Wales. Prior to joining the Royal Navy as a Commissioned Officer in 1976, he served general engineering and student apprenticeships with Firth Cleveland Fastenings Limited, Pontypridd, UK, followed by a period as a research student in the Industrial Engineering Unit, UWIST, Cardiff. On completion of his service in 1992 in the rank of Lieutenant Commander Royal Navy, he took up an appointment at the University of Plymouth.Currently, he is the Head of the School of Engineering and of the MIDAS Research Group.
CEng, FIMechE, FIET
Roles on external bodies
1. International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Technical Committee on Marine Systems, Member
2. Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) Underwater Robotics Group Committee. Member
3. Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College.
Staff serving as external examiners
2000 to 2003 : External Examiner for the BSc Combined Studies (Integrated Technologies) course offered by the University of Sheffield under the aegis of its Collegiate Studies Scheme.
2002 to 2004: External Examiner for the BEng in Mechanical Engineering course offered by the Department of Mechanical and Design Engineering, University of Portsmouth.
2005 todate External Examiner for the BEng and MEng in Marine Technology courses offered by the School of Marine Science and Technology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
2006 to External Examiner for the MSc in Offshore and Ocean Technology course offered by Cranfield University.
Professor Sutton's main research activities lie in the application of advanced control engineering and artificial intelligence techniques to control problems. Ongoing research is concerned with the use of fuzzy logic, neurofuzzy algorithms, artificial neural networks and adaptive search algorithms in the design of novel control systems for industrial and marine plant. Of particular interest is the design and development of uninhabited marine vehicles for both surface and underwater operations.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
PhD and MPhil PROGRAMMES
BATE J. Performance Analysis and Prediction of High Speed Planing Craft. PhD. 1991-1994. Full-time study (Director of Studies).
WITT N A J. Artificial Intelligence Techniques Applied to Automatic Ship Guidance. PhD. 1991-1995. Full-time study (Supervisor).
SHARIF M T. Control Techniques Applied to Integrated Ship Motion Control. PhD. 1992-1995. Full-time study (Supervisor).
JOHNSON C. Depth and Yaw Control of an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle using Neural Networks. MPhil. 1992-1995. 2 years full-time and 1 year part-time study (Director of Studies).
TAYLOR S D H. The Design and Tuning of Fuzzy Autopilots using Artificial Neural Networks. MPhil. 1993-1995. Part-time study (Supervisor).
WALDOCK M I..Artificial Neural Networks for Control Modelling of an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle. MPhil. 1993-1996.Part-time study (Supervisor).
CRAVEN P J. Intelligent Control Strategies for an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. PhD. 1995-1999. Full-time study (Director of Studies) (Awarded the Fugro-Geos Ltd prize for best thesis in Applied Marine Science and Technology by the Society for Underwater Technology).
ZIRILLI A. Intelligent Autopilots for Ships. PhD University of Wales. 1997-2000 Full-time study (Supervisor).
BONHAM C R. Evolutionary Decomposition of Complex Design Spaces. PhD.1997-2000. Full-time study (Supervisor).
CVETKOVIC D. Evolutionary Multi-Objective Decision Support Systems for Conceptual Design. PhD. 1997-2000. Full-time study (Supervisor).
WANG W-H. Modelling Machine Induced Noise and Vibration in a Ship Structure. PhD. 1994-2000. Part-time study (Director of Studies).
PEARSON A R. Intelligent Fault Tolerant Control Schemes for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. PhD. 1998-2002. Full-time study (Director of Studies).
KNIGHT M J. Precision Control of a Sensorless Brushless Direct Current Motor System. PhD. 1999-2002. Full-time study (Director of Studies).
LEAVEY C M. Development of an Intelligent Decision Support System for Application to Orthofunctional Design. MPhil 1997-2002. Part-time study (Supervisor).
NAEEM W. Guidance and Control of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. PhD 2001-2004, Full-time study (Director of Studies).
LOEBIS D. An Intelligent Navigation System for an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. PhD 2001-2004. Full-time study (Director of Studies).
TAN CS. A Collision Avoidance System for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. PhD 2002-2005. Full-time study (Director of Studies).
XU T, An Intelligent Navigation System for an Unmanned Surface Vehicle. PhD 2004-2007. Full-time study (Director of Studies).ALSO SUPERVISED NUMEROUS SUCCESSFUL MSC DISSERTATIONS
PhD and MPhil EXAMINATIONS
- McGURN J T. Application of Heat Transfer Models to Boiler Fouling Monitoring. Queen's University of Belfast, June 1994.
- MacCONNELL PFA. Heating Control using a Knowledge-Based Approach. University of Exeter, March 1996.
- HU JQ. Adaptive Fuzzy Predictive Control using a Neurofuzzy Model with Application to Sintering. University of Sheffield, April 1997.
- LEA R K. Simulation and Experimental Comparison of Control Strategies for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. University of Southampton, August 1998.
- CREASER P. Application of Evolutionary Computation Techniques to Missile Guidance. Cranfield University, March 1999.
- STEPHENS RI. Adaptive Control for Dynamic Positioning of Ships. Coventry University, May 1999.
- SHARMA SK Soft Computing for Dynamic Modelling and Control with Application to Flexible Manipulators. University of Sheffield,October 2000.
- PRINCE MP.Stabilising Ships for Helicopter Operations. University of Southampton, December 2000.
- CREERY NJ. Inlet Manifold Fuel Film Study. Queen's University of Belfast, January 2001.
- PLATTS JT. A Self-Organising Fuzzy Logic Supervisor. Loughborough University,March 2001.
- RIDAO P. A Hybrid Control Architecture for an AUV: Implementation on a Real-Time Operative System. University of Girona, Spain, June 2001.
- YANG D-M. Development of Novel Intelligent Condition Monitoring Procedures for Rolling Element Bearings. University of Aberdeen, December 2001.
- HICKMAN DM. The Simulation of Spark Ignition Engine Behaviour Under Drive Cycle and Off-Cycle Operating Conditions. University of Nottingham, February 2002.
- MOODY L. Sensors, Sensor Measurement Fusion and Missile Trajectory Optimisation. Cranfield University, September 2003.
- CARRERAS M. A Proposal of a Behavior-Based Control Architecture with Reinforcement Learning for an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. University of Girona, Spain, September 2003.
- KONGEZOS V. An Investigation into Industrial DCS using Wireless Communications. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, March 2004.
- SANCHEZ A. Data-Driven Control Design of Wastewater Treatment Systems. University of Strathclyde. June 2004.
- AL-TOWAIM T. Practical Implementation of Norm-Optimal and Predictive Iterative Learning Control on a Chain Conveyor System. University of Southampton, July 2004.
- ANASTASAKIS L. Application of Time Series Prediction in Business Processes. University of Sheffield, November 2004.
- GOVINDHASAMY JJ. Learning Systems for Process Identification and Control. Queen’s University Belfast, December 2004.
- SUGDEN C. Intelligent Sensor Fusion Techniques for Road Car Positioning. University of Tasmania, Australia, July 2005.
- HOME G. A Hybrid Intelligent Architecture for Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Navigation. University of Sunderland, July 2006.
- NOLAN GA. Modelling and Optimisation of a Heaving Buoy Wave Energy Converter for Potable WaterProduction. National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland, September 2006
- MOALEJI R. Adaptive Control for Ship Roll Stabilization using Anti-Roll Tanks. University College London, February 2007
- CHUDLEY J. An Adaptable Mathematical Model for Integrated Navigation Systems. University of Plymouth, April 1994.
- WILLIAMS E. A Neural Network Based Fault Detection System for Industrial Processes. University of Plymouth, March 1995.
- ROY R. Adaptive Search and the Preliminary Design of Gas Turbine Blade Cooling Systems. University of Plymouth,April1997.
- FINDLAY M. Factors Affecting Collision and Grounding Losses in the UK Fishing Fleet. University of Plymouth, January 1998.
- WATSON AH. An Investigation of Evolutionary Computing in Systems Identification for Preliminary Design. University of Plymouth January 1999.
- RADIX C-A L. Human Control of Robotic Mechanisms : Modelling and Assessment of Assistive Devices. University of Plymouth, November 1999.
- QURASHI Z A. A Generic Approach Employing Information Systems for Introducing Systems in SMEs University ofPlymouth, February 2000.
- RICHTER R. A Predictive Fuzzy-Neural Autopilot for the Guidance of Small Motorised Marine Craft.University of Plymouth, August 2000.
- DONG C. Closed Loop Controlled Total Intravenous Anesthesia. University of Plymouth, July 2003.
- GOMEZ DA. A New Type of Linear Extension Sensor for Use in Compliant Robotic Actuators. University of Plymouth, February 2005.
- SOLIMAN E M. Delay Hierarchy Propagation Model. University of Plymouth, August 2005.
1. BRIDGES L W. On-Line Quality Control for Wire-Coating Process. University of Sheffield, February 1999.
2. MANDALOJU N. Hardware Approaches to Model Identification and Control. University of Southampton, July 2007.
1. Kirby-Chambers H M.
A Thermodynamic and Mechanical Engineering Investigation of a Reciprocating Joule Cycle Engine, September
Grants & contracts
EPSRC and Other Sources
1991 £18 K (over 3 years), Research studentship, SERC.
1992 £50 K (over 3 years), MOD (Navy) for Integrated Ship Motion Control with GN Roberts (Royal Naval Engineering College).
1992 £200 K (over 3 years), SERC/Kelvin Hughes Ltd for Technological Refinements in Integrated Bridge Design with M J Dove and M M A Pourzanjani (Southampton Institute), K M Miller (University of Plymouth) and P Smeaton (Liverpool John Moores University).
1995 £18 K (over 3 years), Research studentship, EPSRC.
1996 £ 4 K Collaborative research with the University of Exeter.
1998 £25 K (over 3 years) Research studentship, EPSRC.
1999 £34.5 K (over 3 years) Industrial CASE studentship, EPSRC with R Burns.
1999 £50 K (over 2 years) DERA Bincleaves for a feasibility study into Remote Technologies Research with J Chudley, S Grove, D Pilgrim and P Robinson.
( £ 25 K subject to approval for year 3).
2000 £596.2 K (over 3 years) EPSRC / Seaeye Marine Ltd for IMPROVES research project with R Allen (University of Southampton) and G N Roberts (University of Wales College Newport).
2000 £17.98 K (over 6 months) CRAFT Exploratory Award / Industry for Wine Fermentation In-Process Quality Monitoring System with Polmassick Vineyard, Cave Chaurienne and the University of Pavia.
2001 £ 428.48 K (over 3 years) EPSRC / Industry for An Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with Adaptive Tracking and Navigation Capabilities Research Project with J Chudley, RS Burns, S Tetlow (Cranfield University) and RL Allwood (Cranfield University).
2004 £ 250.75 K (over 3 years) EPSRC / Industry for An Unmanned Surface Vehicle with Pollutant Tracking and Surveying Capabilities Research with J Chudley
2004 €267.28 K Euros (over 2 years) EC CRAFT Award for Wine Fermentation In- Process Monitoring System. Total grant 904 K Euros.
Teaching Company Programmes
1997 £65 K (over 2 years), Teaching Company Directorate / EPSRC / DTI / G and S Smirthwaite Ltd for an Inelligent Design System for Bespoke Product Development with J Pearce and M Polkinghorne.
1997 £154 K (over 2 years), Teaching Company Directoratr / EPSRC / DTI / Spinnaker Ltd for an Intelligent Navigation System for Security Products with R Burns and S Furnell.
1999 £122 K (over 3 years) Teaching Company Directorate / EPSRC / DTI / Hovercam Ltd for the Design of an Autonomous Control and Navigation System for a Miniature Helicopter with R Burns and J Pearce.
1999 £77 K (over 2 years) Teaching Company Directorate / EPSRC / DTI / Morris Automation for the Development of a Design Methodology for Process Automation Equipment with R Burns and J Pearce.
1999 £88.7 K (over 2 years) Teaching Company Directorate / EPSRC / DTI / Plastech Thermoset Tectonics for Control and Monitoring of a Manufacturing Process for the Aerospace Industry with S Grove.
2000 £75 K (over 2 years) Teaching Company Directorate / EPSRC / DTI / Centrax Ltd for Application of Automation to the Gas Turbine Manufacturing Process with R Burns.
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Reports & invited lectures
Invited seminars given at the following venues:
1. Industrial Research Group, GlosCAT, Cheltenham, October 1988.
2. Working Group on Automation and Artificial Intelligence, INRIA, Paris, October 1989.
3. MSc course in Artificial Intelligence with Engineering Applications, University of Wales College of Cardiff, November 1990, November 1991, November 1993, December 1994.
4. IEEE Control Systems Chapter, University of Exeter, December 1990.
5. Hirst Research Laboratories, GEC Ltd, Wembley, November 1991.
6. Advanced Systems Research Group, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Southampton, February 1992.
7. Lucas Technology Update Symposium, Advanced Engineering Centre, Lucas Automotive Ltd, Solihull, June 1992.
8. Control and Instrument Systems Centre, University of Warwick, November 1993.
9. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Calgary, Canada, April 1994.
10. UK/Japan Second Workshop on Fuzzy Systems, University of Southampton, October 1994.
11. Control and Systems Engineering Group, University of Exeter, October 1994.
12. Marine Technology Division, Southampton Institute, May 1995.
13. Third Workshop on Fuzzy Systems, University of Oxford, December 1995.
14. Faculty of Technology, Gwent College of Higher Education, February 1996.
15. Dipartimento Di Informatica E Sistemistica, University of Pavia, Italy, March 1996.
16. Division of Automation and Information Engineering, Korean Maritime University, Korea, July 1997.
17. Institute of Maritime Technology, National Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan, July 1997.
18. Marine Special Interest Group, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, London July 1998.
19. Centre for Intelligent Systems, National University of Singapore, July 1999.
20. Joint Seminar Programme of Warwick and Coventry Universities on Systems and Control, November 2000.
21. Centre for Systems and Control, Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, University of Glasgow, January 2002.
22. System Identification and Control Research Unit, School of Electronics, University of Glamorgan, February 2006.
AWARDS AND PRIZES
1966 The Oxford Award for best attainment in the craft practice for a first year apprentice, Firth Cleveland Fastenings Ltd, Pontypridd.
1968 Winner of the de Ridder Apprentice Cup, Firth Cleveland Fastenings Ltd, Pontypridd.
1972 Vicrem Engineering Production Prize for best final year student project, UWIST, Cardiff.
1985 J Langham Thompson Premium for the most outstanding paper in the IERE journal during 1985.
1991 Donald Julius Groen Prize for most outstanding paper in Proceedings Part I of IMechE during 1991.
1995 Outstanding Paper Award for the best paper in the Journal of SNAME, ROC, during 1995
2002 Stanley Gray Award for the most worthy Offshore Technology paper in the Journal of Marine Engineering and Technology Part A1 during 2001/2002