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Professor Xiaoqi Chen

PhD in Electrical Eng., University of Liverpool, United Kingdom; M.Sc. in Materials Tech., Brunel University, United Kingdom; B.Eng. in Mechanical Eng., South China University of Technology, China


XiaoQi Chen is Deputy Director of Swinburne’s Manufacturing Futures Research Institute and Professor in Department of Mechanical and Product Design Engineering. He obtained his B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, South China University of Technology. He was a recipient of China-UK Technical Co-Operation Award for his MSc study in Materials Technology, Brunel University (1985 – 1986), and PhD study in Electrical Engineering and Electronics, University of Liverpool (1986 – 1989). Prior to joining Swinburne, he was Professor, Director of Mechatronics Engineering, University of Canterbury (2006-2019). He was Senior Scientist and Technical Manager of Advanced Materials Processing in Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (1992-2006); Adjunct Associate Professor, National University of Singapore (1998-2006); Research Fellow, Brunel University (1990-1992) and Durham University (1989-1990), UK.

Prof Chen’s research interests span over robotics, smart manufacturing, advanced materials processing, additive manufacturing, and autonomous systems. He is a strong advocate for translating fundamental and applied research into commercial adoption. His team received Singapore National Technology Award for their pioneering work on additive re-manufacturing of turbine aerofoils (1999), and he was the recipient of New Zealand Forest Owners Association Award (2015) for the development of tree felling robot. His research on untethered wall climbing robot span off Invert Robotics Ltd ( ) that won New Zealand Hi-Tech Start-Up Excellence Award (2012).

Prof Chen is an elected Fellow of Engineering New Zealand (EngNZ); elected Fellow of Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME, USA). He was Vice Chair of SME Singapore Chapter, founding Chair of IEEE Robotics and Automation New Zealand Chapter. He has served as Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, Control and Intelligent Systems, and International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems.  He has more than 400 refereed publications (including over 100 refereed journal papers), 10 patents, and authored and edited 4 books. He has delivered over 100 keynote addresses and invited seminars.

Research interests

Manufacturing Porcesses; Automation and Control Systems

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Adaptive assist-as-needed rehabilitative robotics: The project aims to design and develop intelligent assistive and rehabilitative device that is actuated by smart actuators and controlled via smart sensors. The device provides assist-as-needed support and individualised adaptive resistance/assistance to achieve optimal efficacy, thus offering cost-effective alternative methods for rehabilitation therapy.

Adaptive Autonomous Learning from Demonstration through Sensor Fusion: The project aims for a novel behavioural learning approach that combines gesture recognition and force and tactile sensing. Develop improved data collection (gestures, movements and force of activities) with sensor fusion; novel activity model and recognition based on task parameterisation; novel behavioural learning though adaptive-optimised deep reinforcement learning.

Cyber twins for IIoT-enabled additive manufacturing in the context of Industry 4.0: Develop digital wins based on Additive Manufacturing (AM) in the physical domain, to realize the simulation, prediction and control of the manufacturing process and quality of products. Accurately predict and tailor the final component's properties based on the predictive model and machine learning. Create an industry 4.0 reference solution.

Sensing, navigation and control of autonomous robotic systems: Develop novel mobile robotic systems to automate field operations in unstructured environments via novel sensing, navigation and control. Investigate intelligent actuation and locomotion, deep machine learning for situation awareness and guidance, data fusion for accurate localization and positioning, multi-agent cooperative control.

VR/AR enabled robotisation of complex materials processing: Develop cyber physical robotic systems by incorporating virtual reality and augmented reality, enabling multi-people to multi-robots interaction in an immersive environment. While a virtual robot is teleoperated in a VR environment by human motions, the real robot will be able to accomplish complex materials processing tasks with minimal human intervention.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Manufacturing Robotics And Mechatronics (excl. Automotive Mechatronics) - 091007
  • Mechanical Engineering - 091300
  • Adaptive Agents And Intelligent Robotics - 080101

Teaching areas

Manufacturing Porcesses;Automation and Control Systems


  • 2018, International, Best Paper Award Finalist, The 13th IEEE Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications
  • 2015, National, Innovation Award, Forest Owners Association (New Zealand)
  • 2013, Other, Mechanical Engineering Research Award, University of Canterbury
  • 2012, National, Tech Jumpstart Award, Kiwi Innovation Network
  • 2012, National, Ray Meyer Medal for Excellence in Student Design Highly Commended, The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand
  • 2012, National, HI-Tech Start-Up Excellence Award, Ministry of Science and Technology (NZ)
  • 2010, International, Best Poster Award Finalist, The 6th Annual IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering
  • 2010, International, Best paper award, The Fourth Asia International Symposium on Mechatronics
  • 2009, National, Entré Bright Idea Entrepreneurship Award, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise
  • 2009, International, Best Presentation Award, 2009 Institute of Navigation GNSS Conference
  • 2008, Other, Erskine Visiting Fellowship, University of Canterbury
  • 2008, Other, Best Supervisor for Honours Research Projects, University of Canterbury
  • 2007, International, Best Paper Award, The Third ASME/IEEE International Conference on Mechatronic, Embedded Systems, Applications
  • 2004, International, Best Paper Award Finalist, The Eighth International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics, Vision
  • 1999, National, National Technology Award, Ministry for Trade and Industry (Singapore)

Professional memberships

  • 2020 (current): Board Member, International Journal of Applied Automation and Industrial Diagnostics, Algeria
  • 2013 - 2016: President, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) New Zealand Chapter, New Zealand
  • 2008 - 2010: President, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) New Zealand Chapter, New Zealand
  • 2007 - 2008: Secretary, ASME/IEEE Mechatronics and Embedded Systems and Applications Committee, United States
  • 2002 - 2004: Council Member, Singapore Industrial Automation Association (SIAA) , Singapore
  • 2017 (current): Associate Editor, Transactions on Intelligent Welding Manufacturing (TIWM), Springer, United Kingdom
  • 2011 (current): Board Member, International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, United States
  • 2008 (current): Associate Editor, Mechatronic Systems and Control, Canada
  • 2009 - 2014: Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, United States
  • 2008 - 2010: Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, United States
  • 2004 - 2006: Vice President, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Singapore Chapter, Singapore
  • 2020 (current): Vice President, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Australia Section, Australia
  • 1993 (current): Member, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, United States
  • 2015 (current): Fellow, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, United States
  • 2014 (current): Fellow, Engineering New Zealand, New Zealand
  • 2002 (current): Senior Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, United States


Also published as: Chen, Xiaoqi; Chen, X.; Chen, X-Q.; Chen, X. Q.; Chen, Xiao Qi; Chen, Xiao-Qi; Chen, XiaoQi; XiaoQi, Chen; Xiaoqi, CHEN
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