Professor Xiu Yan

Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management

Personal statement

Prof. Xiu-Tian YAN, (BEng, PhD, CEng, FIMechE, FIET, FHEA), is a Professor in Mechatronic Systems Technology, the Director of Space Mechatronic Systems Technology Laboratory (SMeSTech), Strathclyde Space Institute. He was the past Chairman of Robotics and Mechatronics TPN Executive Committee of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Vice-Chairman of Mechatronics Forum - the Vice Chairman of the Mechatronics Forum – an international mechatronics organisation established in 1992 and sponsored by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the UK.  

His research contributions include a systematic mechatronic system design methodology through the development of a novel ‘design process model’ and associated computer support tools for mechatronic systems design. This model is then applied and validated in developing mechatronic and robotic solutions to challenging problems found in

  • agriculture through award nominated collaborative and innovative AgriRover for autonamous soil sensing and selective harvesting,
  • space through award winning SIROM robotic connector design and data fusion InFuse as builidng blocks for future European space missions, 
  • manufacturing with a SmartMan system for cake production and  
  • recently construction with a sustainable and autonomous factory blueprint for future innovative renovation of social housing from Indu-Zero project.

He has published over 240 journal and conference papers and book chapters published in leading international journals and conferences in mechatronic system design and modelling, engineering system design, haptic system modelling, computer modelling and design support tools for mechatronic system development and applications of design process in several engineering disciplines, manufacturing and assembly, bio-structure modelling. He is the founding director of a research centre on mechatronic systems technology – SMeSTech. His research output impact has been realised through extensive knowledge exchange projects and recognised by the awards of National Judges Commendation Award for Knowledge Transfer Partnership Best Partnership Awards 2010, MCN Best Product of the Year 2009 and finalist for the John Logie Baird Innovation Awards.  

His recent collaborative work on SIROM – a European Space Robotic building block for future space missions, has been nominated then shortlisted as one of the three finalist papers for the best paper award in Category D Infrastructure at 2018 International Astraonautical Congress – the world largest ever space conference attended by over 6000 delegates. This is a result of selection process in which 341 entries were received and 69 interactive presentations have been shortlisted, and finally SIROM paper was shortlisted as one of the three finalists. His AgriRover collaborative project has also been nominated as one of the three finalist for the award for Collaborate to Innovate in Category: Energy, Efficiency & Sustainability by the Engineer Magazine. Two of his books have been rated as top 25% top 25% most downloaded eBooks in the relevant Springer eBook collection with a third book as top 50% most downloaded eBooks in the relevant Springer eBook collection. Prof Yan currently manages and hosts over 20 researchers within SMeSTech lab. He is the Chief Editor along with Prof. D Bradley, Prof. D Russell and Prof. P Moore of a new Springer Book entitled Reinventing Mechatronics - Developing Future Directions for Mechatronics.

Prof. Yan has been nominated for the award of Excellent Teaching for the award of Strathclyde Teaching Excellence in 2014 for "He is very skillful and hardworking teacher".


Prizes and awards

Best Paper Award
The nomination of the first of three finalists for the award of the Best paper in the category D Infrastructure at 69th (2018) International Astronautical Congress, Germany
Best Poster (Application) Award
The First finalist in the Engineer magazine’s "Collaborate to Innovate" award in the category of Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability (2016)
Excellent Teaching nomination for Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Awards
FASTAHEAD project as the Best Asia Link project

More prizes and awards


Modularity for the future in space robotics : a review
Post Mark A, Yan Xiu-Tian, Letier Pierre
Acta Astronautica Vol 189, pp. 530-547 (2021)
A smart wing rib structure suitable for design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) process
Dogea Ramona, Yan Xiu T, Millar Richard
Journal of Material Sciences & Manufacturing Research Vol 2, pp. 1-21 (2021)
An investigation of haptic modelling for oral and maxillofacial surgical training and planning
Li Mutian, Smart Susie, Li Youhua, Ayoub Ashraf, Drikakis Dimitris, Yan Xiu-Tian
Journal of Robotics and Automation Vol 5, pp. 227-235 (2021)
A novel clustering-based algorithm for solving spatially-constrained robotic task sequencing problems
Wong Cuebong, Mineo Carmelo, Yang Erfu, Yan Xiu-Tian, Gu Dongbing
IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (2020)
An overview of the space servicing requirements in a sustainable space age
Lopez Negro Pablo, FILIPPETTO Daniele, Yan Xiu-Tian, TANZARIELLO Claudio, Letier Pierre
71st International Astronautical Congress (2020)
Vision enabled smart manipulations for in-space construction
Yan Xiu-Tian, Oumer Nassir, Li Mutian, Ran Chenhao, Roa Maximo, Zhao Baixiang, Li Youhua, Letier Pierre
71st International Astronautical Congress (2020)

More publications

Professional activities

UK-China Space Robotics Inspired Seedling Grafting Robotic Systems Workshop
EU - European Research Council (External organisation)
AgriRover: a space robotics inspired platform for precision farming
69th International Astronautical Congress
Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering: Robotics and Autonomous Systems Thematic Leader Group (RAS-TLG) (External organisation)
Mechatronics 2018: Reinventing Mechatronics16th Mechatronics Forum International Conference

More professional activities


Made Smarter Innovation - Research Centre for Smart, Collaborative Industrial
Yan, Xiu (Principal Investigator)
30-Jan-2021 - 29-Jan-2025
An smart robotic system for SmartFarm (ISCF)
Yan, Xiu (Principal Investigator) Marshall, Stephen (Co-investigator) Marshall, Stephen (Co-investigator) Ren, Jinchang (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 01-Jan-2023
Evans, Dorothy (Principal Investigator) Yan, Xiu (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2025
PSA Auto Group: Novel Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques in dealing with manufacturing variations for automobile assembly systems
Yan, Xiu (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2023
Head Mounted Vision
Yan, Xiu (Principal Investigator) Wodehouse, Andrew (Co-investigator) Wong, Andy TC (Co-investigator) McMahon, Daniel (Co-investigator)
AI and augmented reality enabled Head Mounted Vision for construction industry
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2020
Novel Path Planning Algorithms and Smart Navigation Strategies of Multiple Autonomous Robots for the Visual Inspection of Asset Integrity in Confined Space
Yang, Erfu (Principal Investigator) Yan, Xiu (Co-investigator) Yang, Beiya (Researcher)
Robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) have received the increasing interests both in onshore and offshore applications where harsh environment (e.g. confined space to deploy and access) has been a challenging issue particularly in the oil and gas industry for numerous reasons. Among them, health, safety and environmental concerns are the key drivers for the deployment of RAS technology. The inspection of key assets in harsh environment (e.g., in the oil and gas industry) is critical both for safety and business reasons. With the current need to deploy an engineer into these environments, safety is of utmost importance and as a result, much preparatory work and additional safety assessments must be performed prior to human entry. In addition, RASs have enabled machines with greater levels of flexibility and adaptability, allowing them to perform various tasks more efficiently than the human counterpart. Multiple Autonomous Robots (MARs) (e.g., Unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, climbing mobile robots, etc) within the realm of RASs in particular have emerged as highly agile systems that can be deployed in swarms to perform lightweight tasks quickly and efficiently. With the rising safety, time and cost concerns relating to the inspection of important industrial equipment and infrastructures, the use of small, lightweight MAR that can be deployed quickly to assess the internal and external conditions are highly desirable.

The ambition of this project is to fundamentally investigate the novel path planning algorithms and smart navigation strategies for developing a feasible solution to the autonomous visual inspection and assessment of internal and external surface conditions in confined spaces through the use of a MAR equipped with on-board cameras. The proposed path planning algorithms and smart navigation strategies consist of an intelligent MAR controller and coverage path planner that determines an optimal path to fully inspect the assets such as vessel surfaces in which confined space has raised the significant challenges in both academic and industrial domains . It is also proposed that the MAR will have obstacle avoidance capabilities to avoid collision with external obstructions and internal features such as weirs and vane packs etc. Toward this end, smart navigation strategies will be playing a key role.
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2023

More projects


Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management
James Weir Building

Location Map

View University of Strathclyde in a larger map