21 July 2014

Studies involving some of the world’s smallest creatures have resulted in one of the world’s biggest honours for QBI researcher Professor Mandyam Srinivasan.

HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh presents the Harold Spencer-Jones Gold Medal, to Professor Mandyam Srinivasan. Credit: Success Photography UK

Studies involving some of the world’s smallest creatures have resulted in one of the world’s biggest honours for QBI researcher Professor Mandyam Srinivasan.

HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh presented the Royal Institute of Navigation’s highest honour, the Harold Spencer-Jones Gold Medal, to Professor Srinivasan at an event in London last week.

Professor Srinivasan studies insects and birds to understand how animals with small brains navigate complex environments.

He applies that research in the field of robotics, using tips and tricks from nature to help unmanned aerial vehicles avoid collisions and safely navigate their environments.

“This is a wonderful and unexpected honour for which I am most grateful,” Professor Srinivasan said.

“Most importantly, I am delighted that the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN) has recognised the potential of studying minuscule flying creatures with tiny brains to provide inspiration for developing strategies, algorithms and technology for autonomous navigation of aerial vehicles.”

RIN Director Peter Chapman-Andrews MBE said Professor Srinivasan’s achievements demonstrated the benefits of using nature to inspire navigation.

He said the award recognised Professor Srinivasan as a member of a rare group of scientists world-renowned in biology, who used their findings to design integrated navigation systems.

The RIN studies, practices and informs the public about navigation, and was granted a Royal Charter by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Harold Spencer-Jones Gold Medal is named after Sir Harold Spencer-Jones, former Astronomer Royal to the Royal Households of the United Kingdom.

Professor Srinivasan’s work has garnered support from Boeing Research and Technology Australia, the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the US Army Research Office and NASA, as well as the Queensland State Government and the Australian Research Council.

Media: Darius Koreis, +61 7 3346 6353, d.koreis@uq.edu.au; Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, +61 7 3346 6322, +61 434 603 082, m.srinivasan@uq.edu.au