Professor Xiu Yan

Design, Manufacture 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
Elected a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology

more prizes and awards


A first simulation of soil-laser interaction investigation for soil characteristic analysis : simulation of soil-laser interaction investigation
Donaldson Karen M, Yan Xiu T
Geoderma Vol 337, pp. 701-709 (2019)
Dynamic anytime task and path planning for mobile robots
Wong Cuebong, Yang Erfu, Yan Xiu-Tian, Gu Dongbing
The UKRAS19 Conference on Embedded Intelligence (2019)
First engineering framework for the out-of-plane robotic shaping of thin rheological objects
Cocuzza Silvio, Yan X-T
Robotics and Computer Integrated Manufacturing Vol 53, pp. 108-121 (2018)
Effects of sample pretreatment and particle size on the determination of nitrogen in soil by portable LIBS and potential use on robotic-borne remote Martian and agricultural soil analysis systems
Yan Xiu T, Donaldson Karen M, Davidson Christine M, Gao Yichun , Wu Hanling , Houston Andrew M , Kisdi Aron
RSC Advances Vol 8, pp. 36886-36894 (2018)
Multi-functional interface for flexibility and reconfigurability of future european space robotic systems
Vinals Javier , Urgoiti Eduardo , Guerra Gonzalo , Valiente Ignacio , Esnoz-Larraya Judit , Ilzkovitz Michel , Franćeski Mario, Letier Pierre, Yan Xiu, Henry Gwenole, Quaranta Albino , Brinkmann Wiebke , Jankovic Marko, Bartsch Sebastian, Doermer Manfred
Advances in Astronautics Science and Technology Vol 1, pp. 119–133 (2018)
Development of a heat flow code to simulate production of a functionally graded material robotic gripper using the additive manufacture process
McMaster Thomas A, Yan Xiu T
Mechatronics 2018 : Reinventing Mechatronics (2018)

more publications

Professional activities

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

more professional activities


Low-Cost Intelligent UAV Swarming Technology for Visual Inspection of Oil and Gas Vessels
Yang, Erfu (Principal Investigator) Yan, Xiu (Co-investigator) Gu, Dongbing (Co-investigator)
Within the oil and gas industry, robotic systems have been seen more commonly both in onshore and offshore applications for numerous reasons. Among them, health, safety and environmental concerns are the key drivers for deployment of robotics and autonomous systems technology. The inspection of key assets in the oil and gas industry is critical both for safety and business reasons. In addition to this, recent developments in autonomous robots have enabled machines with greater levels of flexibility and adaptability, allowing them to perform various tasks more efficiently than the human counterpart. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in particular have emerged as highly agile systems that can be deployed in swarms to perform lightweight tasks quickly and efficiently.
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2021
Horizon 2020 SRC MOSAR - Modular Spacecraft Assembly and Reconfiguration
Yan, Xiu (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 28-Jan-2021
A feasibility study of nitrogen detection using remote sensor in collaboration with AgriRover
Yan, Xiu (Principal Investigator)
Data analysis of soil fertility through nitrogen level estimation for in-situ & satellite correlation mapping algorithms for effective plant health monitoring. Evaluation and integration of these analyses into an integrated model and information platform on crop growth and pest and diseases.
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2019
Deep Learning-Based Smart Autonomous Systems for the Visual Inspection of Asset Integrity in Harsh Environment
Yang, Erfu (Principal Investigator) Yan, Xiu (Co-investigator)
Robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) have received the increasing interests both in onshore and offshore applications where harsh environment has been a challenging issue particularly in the oil and gas industry. With the rising safety, time and cost concerns relating to the inspection of important industrial equipment and infrastructures, the use of small, lightweight and smart RASs such as UAVs/drones that can be deployed quickly to assess the internal and external conditions are highly desirable.
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2021
OGTC Robotics Vessel Inspection
Dobie, Gordon (Principal Investigator) Gachagan, Anthony (Co-investigator) MacLeod, Charles Norman (Co-investigator) Pierce, Gareth (Co-investigator) Yan, Xiu (Co-investigator) Yang, Erfu (Co-investigator)
20-Jan-2018 - 19-Jan-2020
Designing a factory for energy renovations - Indu-Zero
Yan, Xiu (Principal Investigator) Clarke, Joseph Andrew (Co-investigator) McMahon, Daniel (Co-investigator)
The problem

The North Sea Region (NSR) contains 22 million houses built in 1950-1985 that are causing 79 Mton CO2 of emissions annually. Current home renovations are being carried out on a limited-scale and many are not to nZEB standard, with three consequences:

The pace of renovations is too low.
Renovation costs are too high.
Properties not renovated to nZEB standard will continue emitting CO2, and reduce the time frame for a large uptake of deep retrofits.

So, the targets of the Climate Agreement to achieve near zero energy (nZEB) for all buildings by 2050 will not be attained if we continue with current means.

The solution with INDU-ZERO

Mass uptake of home renovations towards energy-neutral in the NSR is needed to meet EU energy and climate targets. The building sector in Europe is not creating the necessary production facilities. INDU-ZERO’s solution is to design a factory blueprint, based on Smart Industry and Circular Economy, with capacity to manufacture renovation packages suitable for all NSR countries, at a high volume (15.000 renovation packages/factory/year) and at 50% lower cost.

This blueprint, together with INDU-ZERO’s project adoption activities, will lead investors, building materials groups, housing owner associations, municipalities, governments and public authorities to bring about initiatives that will result in the needed factory developments. These factories, and the 50% cost reduction in renovation packages, will lead to a mass market uptake of home renovation packages towards energy-neutral and will ultimately reduce the environmental footprint of the NSR countries to meet EU energy and climate targets. So the project focuses on:

1. Redesigning and adapting existing renovation technology for next-generation Industry4 manufacturing.

2. Upscaling of renovation manufacturing such that the pace goes up and the costs go down.

3. Developing a blueprint for Smart Renovation Factory to manufacture the renovation packages. The blueprint will be available to all factory developers. The renovation packages will consist of an external insulated envelope, heat-recovery ventilation, renewable energy generation, and all will be recyclable (circular). The Smart Renovation Factory will have production capacity 15,000 house renovation packages per annum, and will achieve 50% reduction of renovation co
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2021

more projects


Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management
James Weir Building

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