Dr David Johnson

PhD (Sydney) 2010, M Science - Physics (Hons), Imperial College, London, 2001
Research Associate
Australian Centre for Field Robotics

J04 - Rose Street Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9114 0892
Fax +61 2 9351 7474

Website School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering

Research interests

Dr David Johnson's research into radar systems and robotics has applications in mining, defence and agriculture, making many tasks safer and more efficient. But he would also like to see robotic systems recognised more broadly within the community for their other benefits, such as saving lives and making people happier and more fulfilled.

"I work with outdoor robots that need to 'see' and 'understand' their environment. A lot of the jobs we want them to do involve working through dust, smoke or fog, which makes this perception task more difficult.

"While a lot of robots use lasers to map out the world around them, even they can't see through thick smoke, so I develop imaging radar systems that allow robots to map out their world, detecting obstacles and otherwise hidden dangers. Radar therefore has the potential to allow autonomous robotic systems to operate in environments where they otherwise could not be left to their own devices.

"I expect that in the next few years robots will be seen more frequently in many applications in outdoor environments, including mining, defence, agriculture and environmental monitoring - tasks that are too dirty, dangerous or dull to be appealing to people.

"But I am particularly interested in developing systems for humanitarian assistance, such as search and rescue operations, where rescuers are often prone to danger. This means developing systems that can see not only through dust and smoke but also through solid objects and dense foliage, for example in order to detect injured people in tall grass.

"I've been working with radar systems since 2000, when I started as a summer intern with Siemens in the UK. I came to the University of Sydney in 2005 to begin a PhD at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, because it combined state-of-the-art research in both robotic and radar engineering. This has allowed me to focus on a number of more civilian uses of radar technology, and in particular radar imaging for robotic applications.

"I've now come full circle, as the increased use of defence systems for humanitarian assistance has led to an increased interest in industrial radar-imaging techniques from defence."

Selected grants

2015

  • IEF: David Johnson to attend Conference DSTO Canberra to set up meetings for further industry engagement; Johnson D; DVC Research/Industry Engagement Funds.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2008). Wide Band Linearization of a Millimetre-Wave, Linear Frequency Modulated Radar Employing a Surface Acoustic Wave, Delay Line Discriminator. In Subhas Chandra Mukhopadhyay & G. Sen Gupta (Eds.), Lecture Notes Electrical Engineering - Smart Sensors and Sensing Technology, (pp. 153-164). Germany: Springer.

Journals

  • Brooker, G., Johnson, D. (2015). Low-cost millimeter wave imaging using a commercial plasma display. IEEE Sensors Journal, 15(6), 3557-3564. [More Information]
  • Taylor, Z., Nieto, J., Johnson, D. (2015). Multi-modal sensor calibration using a gradient orientation measure. Journal of Field Robotics, 32(5), 675-695. [More Information]
  • Reina, G., Johnson, D., Underwood, J. (2015). Radar sensing for intelligent vehicles in urban environments. Sensors, 15(6), 14661-14678. [More Information]
  • Brooker, G., Johnson, D., Underwood, J., Martinez, J., Lu, X. (2015). Using the polarization of millimeter-wave radar as a navigation aid. Journal of Field Robotics, 32(1), 3-19. [More Information]
  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2012). Development of a near-field bistatic synthetic aperture radar for complex target reconstruction. International Journal of Antennas and Propagation, 2012, 1-22. [More Information]
  • Moulton, B., Johnson, D. (2010). Robotics education: a review of graduate profiles and research pathways. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education, 8(1), 26-31.

Conferences

  • Taylor, Z., Nieto, J., Johnson, D. (2013). Automatic calibration of multi-modal sensor systems using a Gradient orientation measure. 2013 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Tokyo, Japan: IEEE. [More Information]
  • Johnson, D., Vlaskine, V., Brooker, G. (2012). The requirement for, and acquisition of, timely, high-resolution radar data. Robotics: Science and Systems VIII, Sydney, NSW, Australia: Robotics Science and Systems.
  • Johnson, D., Calleija, M., Brooker, G., Nettleton, E. (2011). Development of a Dual-Mirror-Scan Elevation-Monopulse Antenna System. 2011 8th European Radar Conference EuRAD 2011, United Kingdom: EuMA.
  • Johnson, D., Calleija, M., Brooker, G., Nettleton, E. (2011). Terrain mapping at the cm level using a real-aperture MMW monopulse radar. 2011 International Conference on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications, Italy: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • Johnson, D. (2010). Using synthetic aperture radar for the 3-D reconstruction of muckpiles. 2010 Australian Mining Technology Conference, Queensland, Australia: CRC Mining.
  • Johnson, D. (2009). Complex Scatterer Reconstruction using Multistatic Spherical Wave ISAR Fourier Template Matching. 2009 International Conference on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications, Torino, Italy: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • Johnson, D. (2008). Development of a fast ultra-wide bandwidth SWISAR system for rock size measurement. 2008 Fifth Annual Australian Mining Technology Conference Smart Technologies for Sustaining the Minerals Boom, Victoria, Australia: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
  • Johnson, D. (2008). Development of a high resolution MMW Radar employing an antenna with combined frequency and mechanical scanning. 2008 IEEE Radar Conference, USA: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2008). Research Radar for Unmanned Navigation. 2008 International Conference on Radar, Adelaide, Australia: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2007). 4GHz Bandwidth Closed Loop Linearisation of a Millimetre-Wave, Linear Frequency Modulated Radar. 2nd International Conference on Sensing Technology 2007 (ICST 2007), Palmerston North, New Zealand: Massey University.
  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2007). Determining the blasted block size distribution via radar - year two progress. 2007 Australian Mining Technology Conference 'Smart Technologies for Overcoming the Skills Shortage', Carlton, Victoria, Australia: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
  • Johnson, D. (2007). Experimental Comparison of Two Automotive Radars for use on an Autonomous Vehicle. AusWireless 2007 Second International Conference on Wireless Broadband and Ultra Wideband Communications, Sydney: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • Johnson, D. (2006). Determining the Blasted Block Size Distribution via Radar. 2006 Australian Mining Technology Conference, Carlton, Vic, Australia: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

2015

  • Brooker, G., Johnson, D. (2015). Low-cost millimeter wave imaging using a commercial plasma display. IEEE Sensors Journal, 15(6), 3557-3564. [More Information]
  • Taylor, Z., Nieto, J., Johnson, D. (2015). Multi-modal sensor calibration using a gradient orientation measure. Journal of Field Robotics, 32(5), 675-695. [More Information]
  • Reina, G., Johnson, D., Underwood, J. (2015). Radar sensing for intelligent vehicles in urban environments. Sensors, 15(6), 14661-14678. [More Information]
  • Brooker, G., Johnson, D., Underwood, J., Martinez, J., Lu, X. (2015). Using the polarization of millimeter-wave radar as a navigation aid. Journal of Field Robotics, 32(1), 3-19. [More Information]

2013

  • Taylor, Z., Nieto, J., Johnson, D. (2013). Automatic calibration of multi-modal sensor systems using a Gradient orientation measure. 2013 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Tokyo, Japan: IEEE. [More Information]

2012

  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2012). Development of a near-field bistatic synthetic aperture radar for complex target reconstruction. International Journal of Antennas and Propagation, 2012, 1-22. [More Information]
  • Johnson, D., Vlaskine, V., Brooker, G. (2012). The requirement for, and acquisition of, timely, high-resolution radar data. Robotics: Science and Systems VIII, Sydney, NSW, Australia: Robotics Science and Systems.

2011

  • Johnson, D., Calleija, M., Brooker, G., Nettleton, E. (2011). Development of a Dual-Mirror-Scan Elevation-Monopulse Antenna System. 2011 8th European Radar Conference EuRAD 2011, United Kingdom: EuMA.
  • Johnson, D., Calleija, M., Brooker, G., Nettleton, E. (2011). Terrain mapping at the cm level using a real-aperture MMW monopulse radar. 2011 International Conference on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications, Italy: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

2010

  • Moulton, B., Johnson, D. (2010). Robotics education: a review of graduate profiles and research pathways. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education, 8(1), 26-31.
  • Johnson, D. (2010). Using synthetic aperture radar for the 3-D reconstruction of muckpiles. 2010 Australian Mining Technology Conference, Queensland, Australia: CRC Mining.

2009

  • Johnson, D. (2009). Complex Scatterer Reconstruction using Multistatic Spherical Wave ISAR Fourier Template Matching. 2009 International Conference on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications, Torino, Italy: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

2008

  • Johnson, D. (2008). Development of a fast ultra-wide bandwidth SWISAR system for rock size measurement. 2008 Fifth Annual Australian Mining Technology Conference Smart Technologies for Sustaining the Minerals Boom, Victoria, Australia: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
  • Johnson, D. (2008). Development of a high resolution MMW Radar employing an antenna with combined frequency and mechanical scanning. 2008 IEEE Radar Conference, USA: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2008). Research Radar for Unmanned Navigation. 2008 International Conference on Radar, Adelaide, Australia: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2008). Wide Band Linearization of a Millimetre-Wave, Linear Frequency Modulated Radar Employing a Surface Acoustic Wave, Delay Line Discriminator. In Subhas Chandra Mukhopadhyay & G. Sen Gupta (Eds.), Lecture Notes Electrical Engineering - Smart Sensors and Sensing Technology, (pp. 153-164). Germany: Springer.

2007

  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2007). 4GHz Bandwidth Closed Loop Linearisation of a Millimetre-Wave, Linear Frequency Modulated Radar. 2nd International Conference on Sensing Technology 2007 (ICST 2007), Palmerston North, New Zealand: Massey University.
  • Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2007). Determining the blasted block size distribution via radar - year two progress. 2007 Australian Mining Technology Conference 'Smart Technologies for Overcoming the Skills Shortage', Carlton, Victoria, Australia: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
  • Johnson, D. (2007). Experimental Comparison of Two Automotive Radars for use on an Autonomous Vehicle. AusWireless 2007 Second International Conference on Wireless Broadband and Ultra Wideband Communications, Sydney: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

2006

  • Johnson, D. (2006). Determining the Blasted Block Size Distribution via Radar. 2006 Australian Mining Technology Conference, Carlton, Vic, Australia: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

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