The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment
(023) 8059 8366

Dr Stephen D Prior BEng, PhD, PGDipHE, CEng, MIMechE, FHEA

Reader in Unmanned Air Vehicles

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Dr Stephen D Prior is Reader in Unmanned Air Vehicles within Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton.

Dr Stephen D. Prior gained a BEng Mechanical Engineering degree in 1987 and PhD in Robotics from Middlesex University, London in 1993. He is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, Corporate Member of the IMechE and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His research interests are in the areas of Mechatronics, Autonomous Unmanned Systems, Robotics and Design Engineering. He was Project Lead for the MoD Grand Challenge i-Spy team in 2008 and was the Team Leader for Team HALO, winner of the DARPA UAVForge Competition 2012.


Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award 2014
This award acknowledges an outstanding contribution to education at the University of Southampton.

Taiwan Innovation Competition 2013
Gold Medal
Developing a Small UAS to Win the DARPA UAVForge Challenge 2012







Research interests

I am currently supervising five PhD students involving novel aspects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), now referred to as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

Erbil is investigating reconfigurable landing mechanisms for novel perch and stare applications in an urban environment.

Brazinskas is investigating efficient propulsion systems and Mielniczek is researching into novel Coanda vehicle design involving morphing strategies for small UAS.

My two latest PhD students Liu and Guo are investigating control and communication strategies for small unmanned aircraft within GPS denied environments and BLOS operations.

PhD research students

Mehmet Ali Erbil

Mantas Brazinskas

Mielniczek Witold Mielniczek

Chang Liu

Yangzi Guo

Ayodeji O Abioye

Useful Downloads

Need the software?PDF Reader
Small morphing unmanned aircraft inflight
Small morphing unmanned aircraft
Small morphing unmanned aircraft
Small morphing unmanned aircraft
Yagi Antenna propagation model
Yagi Antenna propagation model
CFD model of Coanda UAV
CFD model of Coanda UAV

Research group

Computational Engineering and Design

Research project(s)

Balancing the Impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural Systems using Robots

Our vision is that of a city where infrastructure is autonomously maintained and dynamically responsive, focused on: securing the health & wellbeing of its citizens; contributing to flourishing and sustainable natural systems in the city; and creating positive economic and societal outlooks.

Defence Industries UTC liaison officer and board member for the University.



    Meen, T-H., Prior, S. D., & Lam, A. D. K-T. (Eds.) (2013). Innovation, Communication and Engineering. London, GB: CRC Press/Balkema : Taylor & Francis Group.
    Prior, S. D., Barlow, C., Lewis, D., & Erbil, M. A. (2009). S.I. Units (revision) playing cards: units, symbols, quantities, equations & abbreviations in science, technology, engineering & maths. Leiden, NL: Technology Education Teaching Resources Centre.

Book Chapters


Creative Media and Artefacts


Module title Module code Discipline Role
Systems design and computing FEEG2001 Mech, Aero and Acoustical Tutor
Group design project SESA6062 Aerospace Module Leader
Powered Lift SESA6073 Aerospace Tutor
MSc Research Project FEEG6012 Aerospace Supervisor
MEng Individual project SESA6054 Aerospace Supervisor
MEng Individual project SESM3013 Areospace Supervisor


Dr Stephen D Prior
Aeronautics, Astronautics and Computational Engineering Faculty of Engineering and the Environment Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus Building: 176 Room: 5029 University of Southampton Southampton SO16 7QF United Kingdom

Room Number:176/5029

Telephone:(023) 8059 8366

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