Browse/search for people

Professor Arthur Richards

Professor Arthur Richards

Professor Arthur Richards
M.Eng.(Cantab.), S.M.(M.I.T.), Ph.D. (M.I.T.)

Professor of Robotics and Control

Area of research

Aerospace Guidance and Control

Office 1.35
Bristol Robotics Lab,
T Block, UWE Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane BS16 1QY
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 5706


I specialize in the application of trajectory optimization to problems in aerospace. Examples of recent work include:

  • autonomous exploration of a cluttered environment by an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV)
  • fuel-efficient rendezvous of spacecraft for Mars Sample Return mission
  • robust air traffic flow management

This technologies involved include:

  • non-convex optimization for avoidance constraints, such as obstacle avoidance or air traffic separation
  • robust model predictive control, applying optimization in real time to compensate for disturbances and other uncertainty
  • distributed optimization and control, enabling cooperation across large teams of vehicles

In all of the work, the challenges are to find solutions that are:

  • high performance, e.g. handling high levels of air traffic or using minimal fuel
  • robust, able to work in uncertain environments or even without a map at all
  • scalable, able to extend to very large numbers of vehicles
  • fast, using efficient algorithms to respond quickly to new information


Dr Richards obtained a MEng from the University of Cambridge in 2000. He then went to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he obtained a MSc in 2002 for research on trajectory optimization using Mixed-Integer Linear Programming (MILP). He stayed at MIT and completed his PhD in 2004 with research on robust Model Predictive Control (MPC). He came to Bristol later in 2004 when he was appointed a lecturer in control and dynamics.


  • air traffic management
  • unmanned air vehicles
  • spacecraft control
  • robotics
  • trajectory optimization
  • model predictive control



Department of Aerospace Engineering

Other sites

Research Groups

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Professor Richards currently teaches 2 courses:

Edit this profile If you are Professor Arthur Richards, you can edit this page. Login required.

PDF versionDownload PDF