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Personal profile

Research interests

Autonomy: Engineering of advanced cognition into unmanned and autonomous systems – control, navigation, signal processing, planning, world modelling, learning, operator dialog, architecture. (e.g. autonomous underwater vehicles for oil and gas intervention, under-ice survey)

Analytics: Predictive fault detection and diagnosis for condition based maintenance and through lifesupport of remote assets (e.g. offshore wind farms, railways, subsea oil and gas infrastructure).

Biomimesis: Bio-inspired sensing and locomotion (e.g. dolphin inspired underwater sonar, turtle magnetic navigation, seal vibrissae (whiskers) sensing, fish propulsion and energy harvesting)


David LaneCBE FREng FRSE is a scientist, engineer, educator, innovator and personal investor in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, and a strategic Board level advisor to Governments, companies and research organisations.He is Professor & Founding Director creating the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics[1], a £120M joint venture between Heriot-WattEdinburgh Universitiesperforming internationally excellent Robotics and AI research and innovation translation across sectors by training over 100 innovation-ready PhD students, hosting the EPSRC ORCA Hub(winner of the 2018 Guardian University Business Collaboration Award[2]) and the National ROBOTARIUM[3], (part of the Edinburgh City Deal[4]). A former offshore diver/maintainer with Vickers Oceanics(now Subsea7), Development Engineer (Ferranti Ltdnow Leonardo), and founding startup-to-scale up CEO (SeeByte Ltd/Inc[5]) he has significant international experience organizing and running startup companies and major multi-party research and innovation projects to achieve internationally excellent research outcomes that also capture commercial value from top science. 

From 1995 he established Heriot-Watt’sOcean Systems Laboratorywith an international reputation in marine robotics, publishing nearly 300 cited publications[6]in top international journals and conferences, co-ordinating a series of major EU and EPSRC projects including AMADEUS[7], AMASON, AUTOTRACKER, PANDORA[8]. From 2001-2010 he founded & led SeeByte Ltd/Inc(Edinburgh, San Diego) to a multi-million $ UK/US company in defence & offshore markets, winning the 2011 Praxis Unico Business Impact Achieved Award[9]2013 Scottish Digital Technology Award for International Growth[10]before US exit to Battellewith a multiple of 23,000 from investment. In 2016 he was appointed Chairman ofConsequential Robotics Ltd[11](London, Bristol), in 2017 non-executive director for WiSub[12](Bergen) and in 2019 Chairman of InovoRobotics Ltd[13](London, Hong Kong). He sits on the advisory boards of  Robotical Ltd[14](Edinburgh) and Karakuri Ltd[15](London). In 2013/4 he led development of the UK’s national robotics innovation strategy RAS2020[16], which has influenced over £400M of UK Govt investments and £150M of industrial gearing to date[17]as well as the new UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. He currently leads development of a UK National Robotics Enterpriseand Robotics Growth Partnershipwith the UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation and BEIS, and advised on developing UK as a Platform for Innovation. From 2014-2016 he was a Director of euRobotics aisbl[18]shaping the SPARC[19]€700M EU Horizon2020 Robotics public-private partnership. In 2016 he led Lloyds Register Foundation Foresight Review of Robotics and Autonomous Systems[20]seeding the £12m Assuring Autonomy International Programme[21]. For these he was recognised as the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Champion at the 2019 Interface Awards.

 He sits on the Advisory Board of the newly formed 8 Great Technologies Venture Fund[22], BAe Systems Corporate Foresight Panel, the UK Atomic Energy Authority Programme Advisory Committee[23], the InnovateUK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Robotics and AI Advisory group[24], the Department for Transport Maritime 2050 steering group[25]and theScientific Advisory Board of the French Oceanographic Fleet[26]. He chairs and mentors in the Royal Academy of Engineering[27]and Royal Society of Edinburgh[28]Enterprise Fellowship Schemes, is a Lloyds Register Foundation A100 Ambassador[29]and is Overseas Famous Scholar and Guest Professor at Shenyang Institute of AutomationChinese Academy of Sciences Key State Laboratory for Robotics[30]and Zhejiang Ocean University[31]. He was General Chair of the 2017 EU Robotics Forum Conference[32]bringing 800 top European roboticists to Edinburgh. 





Roles & Responsibilities

Court Member

Finance Committee

Founder, Director , EDU-RAS - Edinburgh Alliance in Robotics and Autonomous Systems - joint Centre between HWU and University of Edinburgh                                                                                                                              

Course Director: MSc Robotics, Autonomous and Interactive Systems                                                                                                                    

Co-ordinator: FP7 ICT Challenge 2 project PANDORA

Founder, Director, SeeByte Ltd/Inc, Edinburgh & San Diego

Director, EURobotics aisbl, Brussels                                                                                                                    

Chair, ESP KTN Special Interest Group Robotics and Autonomous Systems, London

Royal Society of Edinburgh - Scottish Enterprise Fellowship and B3 Sectional Committees.

Royal Academy of Engineering - Enterprise Hub Committee

Research Group Contact Details

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Research Output

Learning Mobile Manipulation through Deep Reinforcement Learning

Wang, C., Zhang, Q., Tian, Q., Li, S., Wang, X., Lane, D., Petillot, Y. & Wang, S., 10 Feb 2020, In : Sensors. 20, 3, 939.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    23 Downloads (Pure)

    Robots in the Danger Zone: Exploring Public Perception through Engagement

    Robb, D. A., Ahmad, M. I., Tiseo, C., Aracri, S., McConnell, A. C., Page, V., Dondrup, C., Garcia, F. J. C., Nguyen, H-N., Pairet, È., Ardón Ramírez, P., Semwal, T., Taylor, H. M., Wilson, L. J., Lane, D., Hastie, H. & Lohan, K., 9 Mar 2020, HRI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. Association for Computing Machinery, p. 93–102 10 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access
  • 14 Downloads (Pure)

    Exploring Interaction with Remote Autonomous Systems using Conversational Agents

    Robb, D. A., Lopes, J., Padilla, S., Laskov, A., Garcia, F. J. C., Liu, X., Scharff Willners, J., Valeyrie, N., Lohan, K., Lane, D., Patron, P., Petillot, Y., Chantler, M. J. & Hastie, H., 18 Jun 2019, DIS 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference. Association for Computing Machinery, p. 1543-1556 14 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    104 Downloads (Pure)

    Global Localization with Object-Level Semantics and Topology

    Liu, Y., Petillot, Y., Lane, D. & Wang, S., 12 Aug 2019, 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). IEEE, p. 4909-4915 7 p. (International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access
  • 275 Downloads (Pure)

    Guided Stochastic Optimization for Motion Planning

    Magyar, B., Tsiogkas, N., Brito, B., Patel, M., Lane, D. & Wang, S., 12 Nov 2019, In : Frontiers in Robotics and AI. 6, 105.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 32 Downloads (Pure)


    Commander of the Order of The British Empire

    Lane, David Michael (Recipient), 1 Jan 2016

    Prize: National/international honour

  • Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

    Lane, David Michael (Recipient), 2012

    Prize: Election to learned society

    Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

    Lane, David Michael (Recipient), 2010

    Prize: Election to learned society

    Scottish Knowledge Exchange Champion

    Lane, David Michael (Recipient), 21 Feb 2019

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Spirit of Heriot-Watt Awards 2017, Outward Looking

    Lane, David Michael (Recipient), Lohan, Katrin Solveig (Recipient), Vargas, Patricia Amancio (Recipient), Hastie, Helen (Recipient), Broz, Frank (Recipient), Sethu Vijayakumar (Recipient), Michael Hermann (Recipient), Mary Ellen Foster (Recipient), Sabine Hauert (Recipient), Micael S. Couceiro (Recipient), Baillie, Lynne (Recipient), Erden, Mustafa Suphi (Recipient), Iain James McEwen (Recipient), Alistair Campbell McConnell (Recipient), Robert Goodfellow (Recipient), Dragone, Mauro (Recipient), Fulvio Mastrogiovanni (Recipient), Dondrup, Christian (Recipient), Mei Yii Lim (Recipient), Sarah Anne Murphy (Recipient), Vallejo, Marta (Recipient), Siobhan Duncan (Recipient) & Mohd Khairul Azmi Hassan (Recipient), 1 Jul 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Activities

    • 2 Membership of committee
    • 2 Other
    • 1 Membership of Advisory Panel
    • 1 Membership of peer review panel

    Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (External organisation)

    David Michael Lane (Member)

    23 Jun 2015

    Activity: MembershipMembership of Advisory Panel

    Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (External organisation)

    David Michael Lane (Member)

    Jun 2014 → …

    Activity: MembershipMembership of committee

    Robotics & Autonomous Systems Special Interest Group (External organisation)

    David Michael Lane (Chair)

    2013 → …

    Activity: MembershipMembership of committee

    Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (External organisation)

    David Michael Lane (Member)

    27 Nov 2012

    Activity: MembershipMembership of peer review panel