Sergio Araujo-Estrada (he/him), pronounced Ser-hee-oh, is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Control and Robotics at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton.
His research focuses on developing techniques to model and control robotic systems, for example Uninhabited Vehicles for air and/or water environments. In particular, his research aims to improve functionality and trustworthiness of these vehicles by taking inspiration from nature and applying it to them.
His motivation can be summarised as follows:
“I find it amazing that with a handful of equations you can describe how a vehicle (e.g., aircraft, ship) moves (through the air, water or on the ground), and not only that, but with this knowledge you can predict and modify what its future state will be.
However, there are cases where these equations/models a not up to the job. I would like to find out the limits of these models and propose/find improved ones. We can then use these to propose novel vehicle configurations.”
Sergio was born and grew up on the outskirts of Mexico City. Since childhood he displayed a strong interest and curiosity in flying machines, drawing futuristic airplanes, spaceships and space colonies.
This led him to get a BEng degree in Aerospace Engineering at the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering with the National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico). After this he had his first experience with experimental work while pursuing an MSc in Electrical Engineering at the Research and Advanced Studies Centre (CINVESTAV-Mexico), where he used a nonlinear parameter estimation technique (Immersion and Invariance) applied to a fixed-wing UAV.
After realising that his love for Aerospace Engineering was stronger that his love for sunny weather, Sergio moved to the UK to obtain a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol (2017). Here, he studied nonlinear flight dynamics and wrote his thesis entitled “Control of a Wind Tunnel Manoeuvre-Rig to Physically Simulate Free-Flight Motion of an Aircraft Model”.
After his PhD, Sergio liked the research environment so much that he decided to work as a postdoctoral researcher, studying bio-inspiration concepts applied to flight control of UAVs. Here, he worked on things such as wind tunnel testing, numerical simulation, distributed sensing and wing-morphing technology applied to UAVs.
In June 2022, he joined the University of Southampton as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Control and Robotics.
In his free time Sergio enjoys:
- practicing sport, e.g., swimming, running, cycling;
- reading books, including a broad range of genres from science fiction to science dissemination, all the way to politics and history;
- tv-watching, things like movies, tv series/programs (e.g., The IT Crowd, Breaking Bad, Last Week Tonight), adult-oriented animation (e.g., Archer, South Park, Rick and Morty) and anime;
- drinking coffee and eating buttery pastries (e.g., pain au chocolate, croissant).
His ideal Saturday/Sunday morning is to enjoy a coffee and a pastry, after a run/swim, preferably while reading a good article/book.