For almost two decades, Dr. James F. Roberts has been gaining a professional research and commercialisation experience, spanning across multi-disciplinary fields including aeronautics, microelectronics, control systems, mechanics and product development.
In 2004, James received a Bachelor of Engineering in Microelectronics Engineering, majoring in communications systems, from Griffith University, Brisbane. His multi-award winning graduation project with Airservices Australia, entitled “A Design for Air-Trafﬁc Audio Control”, now manages 11% of the world’s airspace. As part of the Microelectronics Bachelor from Griffith University, he worked with a research team at the Intelligent Control Systems Laboratory. There, he developed a control board that was used in the “Digital Control Systems course.
In 2004, James started his first business, Jimonics Engineering Solutions, which is a contractor and consultancy business for microelectronic systems, specialising in robotics and avionics. Custom solutions have been designed for a broad range of clients including; Airservices Australia, EPFL University, The University of Sydney and the “Musée de Zoologie de Lausanne”.
In 2007, James received a Masters of Engineering in Aeronautical, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering at The University of Sydney. His master thesis, entitled: “Design of an Autonomous Hovering Miniature Air Vehicle as a Flying Research Platform”, aimed towards bringing UAV technology into education.
In 2011, James completed a Ph.D. at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, EPFL Switzerland. His doctoral thesis, entitled, “Enabling the Collective Operation of Indoor Flying Robots”, was part of the highly successful international “Swarmanoid“, Future Emerging Technologies project, funded by the European Commission.
From 2011, James was the Chief Technology Officer at Intelligenia DYNAMICS, a Spanish start-up company. There he was researching and commercialising an “Energy-aware Aerial Swarm Search UAV for Efficient Search and Rescue”. To support this research, he was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship from the European Commission, and a Torres Quevedo research grant from the Spanish Ministry of Science.
Between 2012 and 2014, James was the Lead Mechanical Engineer, at senseFly , a Swiss start-up company. There he was developing the next generation of small (<2kg) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for civil professional applications. Some of his work includes the highly successful eBee fixed-wing drone for 3D mapping, and the Albris (Exom) quad-rotor, designed for remote inspection.
In 2016, James was an invited UAV specialist to a discovery workshop discussing the possibilities of using UAVs for disaster response. The workshop was organised by Instedd was held at Singularity University within the NASA Ames Research Park in Silicon Valley.
During the last few years, while working in two challenging and inspiring start-up companies abroad, James has been bridging the gap between research and product commercialization. He believes that Australia should invest in local innovation and technology based startups. For this reason he turned down other opportunities to come back home with his family and start his own company in Tamworth, NSW. He hopes to deliver the next generation of locally made drones to Australia and the world.
– Dr James F. Roberts – UAVs / Drones Australia –