Researcher

Dr Mark Whitty

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

Mark is a Lecturer in the Mechatronics discipline within the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.  Please see his research group's page at www.robotics.unsw.edu.au/srv for more details of the work his team are doing. His research interests are focussed around the development of autonomous vehicles for use in unknown environments and include the following topics:

  • Yield estimation in precision viticulture
  • Digital viticulture...view more

Mark is a Lecturer in the Mechatronics discipline within the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.  Please see his research group's page at www.robotics.unsw.edu.au/srv for more details of the work his team are doing. His research interests are focussed around the development of autonomous vehicles for use in unknown environments and include the following topics:

  • Yield estimation in precision viticulture
  • Digital viticulture including smartphone app development
  • Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs)
  • 3D point cloud processing
  • Path planning in deformable maps
Prospective postgraduate students are encouraged to contact me by email, however must have demonstrable experience with robotics software and/or hardware and include a full CV and copy of their academic transcript with their initial email along with their result from the HDR self-assessment tool. Funding is available through standard UNSW channels and prospective students are advised to refer to these links before contacting me: scholarships, fees, research at UNSW, cost of living in Sydney.
 

Postgraduate research students seeking a period of exchange should read the information here before contacting me. I do not have funding or positions available for short term (<6 months) visits by undergraduate or practicuum students.

Current Grants

  • Chief Investigator for Innovation Connections grant with Makinex "Development of an autonomous concrete cutting robot" (2017), value $99,700.
  • Chief Investigator for AGWA (Australian Grape and Wine Authority – also known as Wine Australia) (Cat. 1) funded project “Improved Yield Estimation for the Australian Wine Industry” (2014-2017), value $819,000.
  • Partner Investigator for AGWA (Cat. 1) funded project “Smart-Phone Based Image Analysis to Assess Vine Water Stress” (2016 – 2017), value $332,400.
  • Project Supervisor for AGWA funded Ph.D scholarship project “Autonomous In-Vivo Determination of Maturity Parameters” (2016 – 2018), value $30,000.

Past grants 

  • Partner Investigator for UNSW Strategic Educational Development Grants #2, “Interactive learning modules for Engineering fundamentals” (2014 - 2015), value $300,000.
  • Chief Investigator for CRC-SI (Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information) funded project “Identification of indoor localisation solutions for tracking patients in hospital environments to minimise cross-infection” (2016), value $24,500.
  • Academic Supervisor for NSW Government Research Attraction and Acceleration Program grant to MBZIRC team, “Science and Engineering Student Competition Sponsorship Program” (2016), value $15,000.
  • Chief Investigator for AGWA funded travel bursary “Study tour to support automated yield estimation project” (2015), value $1,500.
  • Academic Supervisor for NSW Government Research Attraction and Acceleration Program grant to IGVC team, “Science and Engineering Student Competition Sponsorship Program” (2015), value $8,000.
  • Partner Investigator for DAAD research grant to collaborate with the University of Oldenburg “Development of Methodologies to Actively Compensate for Erratic Motions in Micro/Nano Manipulators” (2013-2014), value $20,000.

Current Students and Topics

Ph.D

  • Julie Tang: Vine bunch maturity estimation using multispectral cameras
  • Masami Hirayama: Autonomous operation of bulldozers for ground levelling (co-supervised with Jay Katupitiya and Jose Guivant as primary suprvisors)
  • Cameron Stewart: Neural networks (co-supervised with Alan Blair as primary supervisor)
  • Zhihai Zhang: Control for a 4WD4WS vehicle (co-supervised with Jay Katupitiya as primary supervisor)
Masters
  • Bolai Xin: 3D bunch reconstruction
BE thesis
  • Tom Wyatt: Femtocells for the bush
  • Nicola Gibson: Rain filtering with LiDAR
  • James Murdoch: Machine learning for optimisation of a reverse osmosis plant
  • Harsh Patel: Improved microscope image stitching
  • Phillip van Kerk Oerle: CNN structures for grape bunch detection in videos
  • Joseph Salim: Incipient slip detection with the MANGO sensor
  • Alex Gan: Location prediction
  • Ian Stuart Bartlett: Representing Temporal Restricted Boltzmann Machines on quantum computers
Completed Students and Topics
Ph.D
  • Scarlett Liu: Yield Estimation in Viticulture by Digital Image Processing
BE Thesis. Number graduated: 52.
  • William Wu: Database for Collating Indoor Localisation Records
  • Faris Azhari: Particle Filter Methods for Indoor Localisation using Mobile Phones and Bluetooth Beacons
  • Drew Wiseham: Yield Estimation in Viticulture
  • Zhen (Steven) Liu: Berry Diameter Tracking
  • Gaurav Awadhwal: Improved Camera and GPS Data Capture for Yield Estimation
  • Christopher Squire: Improving Point Cloud Rendering with Skip-octrees
  • Amogh Sarda: Natural Language Processing for Predicting Self-harm in Online Forums
  • Laura Hodges: Agent-based Task Allocation and Exploration for UAVs
  • Lalitha Katupitiya: Centralised UAV Coordination
  • Fredrik Westling: Mobile Phone Control of a Quadcopter
  • Cameron Stewart: Deep Neural Networks on the D-Wave 2X Quantum Computer
  • Kevin Lerdwichagul: AI for Starcraft
  • Shirleen Sharma: Believability of Conversational Agents in Role Playing Games
  • Cadmus To: Pose Estimation for Grasping Unknown Objects
  • Sang-woo Park: UGV Manipulator Design
  • Daniel Ly: 3D Object Pose Tracking using a Kinect Sensor
  • Karthik Jayaraman: Indoor Localisation in a Hospital Environment using Bluetooth Low Energy Tags 
  • Terence Chong: Generation of Virtual Formula SAE Racing Environments using Road Scanning Systems
  • Thomas Wijaya: Geometric Consistency and Optimisation for Map Merging
  • Phillip Moser: Automated Sorting System for a Grape Harvester
  • Will Russell: Inducing Cow Flow in Grazing AMS Dairy Farms Using Audio Stimuli
  • Nathan Adler: Development and Assessment of a Low Cost CORS-linked Single Frequency GPS for RTK Applications
  • Rory San Miguel: Design of a High Precision UAV GPS
  • Andrew McGill: Development of a Smartphone Application to assist in Viticulture Data Collection
  • Sam Cassisi: Hospital Patient Tracking for Infectious Disease Control
  • Zhu (Arthur) Lie: Mobile Phone Control of a Mobile Robot
  • Sudeep Singh: Automated Image capture for Grape Vine Inspection
  • Samuel Binns: Robot Manipulator Grasp Planning
  • Lindsay Folkard: Visual Based Egomotion Detection
  • Stephanie Morris: Inflorescence Counting using Image Processing
  • Tanawat Sarnvanichpitak: Defect Detection in a Coat Hanger Manufacturing Line
  • Julie Tang: Automated Screw Detection and Removal for Robotic Disassembly
  • Ian Craig: Personal Location Prediction from Automatic Region Clustering using Mobile Devices
  • Russell Harding: Mobile Phone Control of a Mobile Robot
  • Letty Liu: Inflorescence Flower Counting by Image Processing
  • Dan Padilha: Implementation of NP-Hard problems on the D-wave 2 quantum computer
  • Samuel Marden: Automated Yield Forecasting in a Vineyard using an Unmanned Ground Vehicle and Computer Vision
  • Aditya Pradiptadarma: Design and Evaluation of a Flexible Vineyard Management System
  • Donger (Donald) Luo: Simulation Modelling of a Quadbike to Help Improve Stability
  • Andrew Bastoli: Dynamic Memory Management of a Point Cloud Viewer
  • Chloe Boyton: Automatic Generation of Aircraft Loading Schedules
  • Chi Quan (Calvin) Tan: Plane Extraction and Visualisation in 3D Poinbt Clouds
  • Kent Tran: Real Time Visualisation of Large Point Cloud Datasets
  • Maximilien Stevens: 3D Map Merging of Campus Scale Datasets
  • Sheng Jie Teo: Robot Controlled Pan and Tilt DSLR Camera over the Internet
  • Tom Lindeback: Planning with Multiple Constraints
  • Brett Seton: An Investigation into Path Planning Techniques
  • Dylan Campbell: The Kidnapped Robot Problem: Detection and Recovery
  • Paul Ashley: Development of Smartphone Applications in Viticulture
  • John Goward: Estimating and Predicting Carbon Sequestered in a Vineyard with Soil Surveys, Spatial Data & GIS Management
  • Cameron Joannidis (co-supervised with Steve Cossell): Implementation of an Audio Interface for the UNSW Unmanned Ground Vehicle
  • Derek Taprell: Development of a Module Base Station System for a Micro Aerial Vehicle & The Investigation of a Laser Stripe Distance Sensor for a Micro Aerial Vehicle
Taste of Research
  • Faris Azhari: Indoor Localisation using Mobile Phones and Bluetooth Beacons
  • Yiwei Han: Mobile Computer Vision for Yield Estimation in Viticulture
  • Zhihao Zhang: Georeferencing Vineyard Imagery Without GPS
  • Xin Dong: Google 'Street View' for the Vineyard
  • Julie Tang: Long Term Autonomy for Image Collection in a Vineyard using a Mobile Robot
  • Letty Liu: Inflorescence Flower Counting by Image Processing
 

Lectures / Courses recently taught

  • MTRN4230 Robotics (course convenor and lecturer)
  • MMAN3000 Professional Engineering and Communication (lecturer)
  • Previously: MMAN1300 (lecturer), MMAN2300 (lecturer), MTRN2500 (tutor), MTRN3500 (tutor), MTRN3020 (tutor), GSOE9400 (tutor), MMAN3200 (tutor), MTRN3100 (tutor), MTRN9222 (tutor), SENG3111 (tutor)

Professional Activities

Awards

  • Faculty of Engineering Staff Excellence Award for Research Excellence (2016)
  • Academic Supervisor for New South Solutions, UNSW's entry in the 2015 Telstra University Challenge. Top three teams in Australia for their sun exposure tracking solution. Video.
  • Academic Supervisor for Saving Allen, UNSW's entry in the IGVC2015 event. Won best UGV performance, breaking all course records.
  • Academic Supervisor for UNSW Mechatronics Team 2. Won the grand prize in the AGVC2014 event. Featured on ABC TV and online news.
  • Academic Supervisor for UNSW AGVC Team 2. Won second place overall and and Best Autonomous Vehicle performance at the inaugural Autonomous Ground Vehicle Competition in December 2013
  • Winner, Student Reporter Contest, ICRA2011, with two articles published in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine (2001)
  • William McIlrath Postgraduate Travel Scholarship (2010)
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research, Best Overall Student (2010)
  • Best Paper and Best Presentation award, 4th US-European Workshop on Micro Aerial Vehicles (IMAV09), Pensacola, Florida (2009)
  • UNSW Research Excellence Award for postgraduate study (2008 - 2011)
  • Senior Bachelor of Engineering Award, Engineers Australia, Sydney Division (2008)
  • University Medal for Mechanical Engineering (2007)

 Education

  • 2015 Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching at UNSW Australia.
  • 2008 - 2012 PhD, Mechatronic Engineering at the University of New South Wales - link to dissertation titled "Efficient path planning in deformable dense maps."
  • 2003 - 2007 BE (Mechanical) / BSc (Computer Science) at the University of New South Wales


My Expertise

Real-time 3D dense mapping, Path planning in deformable maps, Map deformation metrics, Large-scale environment representation, Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs).

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Location

J17 Ainsworth Building (Mechanical Engineering) 510G (inside the large staff and postgraduate student area on level 5) - call x54230 for entry.

Contact

+61 2 9385 4230
9663 1222

Videos

Pepper, UNSW's winning entry at IGVC2015
SolSmart, UNSW's entry in the Telstra University Challenge
UNSW's Mohammad Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) team practising in Abu Dhabi
UNSW's Mohammad Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge Team Introduction
IGVC 2015 UNSW Advanced Course Chase [Final]
Telstra University Challenge finalist – Sol SunSmart
University Of New South Wales - Saving Robert, Australia
University of New South Wales - Saving Robert
Precision Crop Monitoring using Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs)