Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


Dr Cunjia Liu BEng, MSc, PhD

Photo of Dr Cunjia Liu


Cunjia Liu is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering (AAE) at Loughborough University. He received his PhD in autonomous aerial vehicles from this department in 2011. After completing PhD, he worked at Triumph Actuation & Motion Control Systems-UK Ltd. as a control system engineer and then returned to the Autonomous Systems Laboratory at Loughborough University as a Research Associate. He was appointed as a Lecturer in Unmanned Vehicles, or Flight Dynamics and Control in October 2013 and became a Senior Lecturer in 2018.


  • PhD in Autonomous Vehicles - Loughborough 2011
  • Member of IEEE
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy
  • Certificate of Practical Flight Assessment for Rotorcraft UAVs

Key Awards: 

  • IMechE  Charles Sharpe Beecher Prize 

Outline of main research interests: 

Control engineering: Model predictive control, Disturbance observer based control.

Information fusion: Bayesian learning, Particle filtering, Data assimilation.

Unmanned vehicles: Advanced flight control, Path planning, Multi-vehicle coordination

Application domain: Unmanned vehicles, Smart farming, Mobile sensor for CBRN response, Machine learning for intelligent mobility.

Grants and contracts:

  • DSTL: Autonomous CB source-term estimation in complex environments, PI, 11/2019 - 02/2022, Phase 1 £85k + Phase 2 £183k.
  • STFC: Space-enabled crop disease management service via crop spraying drones [SCENE-CAD] (ST/V00137X/1), PI, 02/2020 - 03/2022, £404k.
  • ADD (South Korea): Disturbance observer based control for unconventional UAV, PI, 12/2019 - 12/2021, £320K.
  • DASA: Autonomous search for chemical release with a pocket-sized drone [scenesearch] (ACC500113), PI, 10/2017 - 03/2019, £375k.
  • EPSRC: Autonomous landing of a helicopter at sea: advanced control in adverse conditions (EP/P012868/1), PI, 06/2017 - 10/2018, £101k.
  • STFC: Enabling wide area persistent remote sensing for agriculture applications (ST/N006852/1), Co-I, 05/2016 - 12/2019, £1.2m.


Current teaching responsibilities:

  • TTD106 Autonomous Vehicles (module leader)
  • TTP409 Autonomous Vehicle Systems (module leader)
  • TTC057 Flight Control Systems
  • TTC012 Spacecraft Engineering
  • Final Year Projects


Yan, Y., Yang, J., Liu, C., Coombes, M., Li, S., Chen, W.-H. (2020) On the Actuator Dynamics of Dynamic Control Allocation for a Small Fixed-Wing UAV with Direct Lift Control. IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, 28(3).

Yang, J. , Liu, C. , Coombes, M. , Yan, Y. , Chen, W-H (2020) Optimal Path Following for Small Fixed-Wing UAVs Under Wind Disturbances. IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, -.

Coombes, M., Fletcher, T., Chen, W.-H., Liu, C. (2020) Decomposition-based mission planning for fixed-wing UAVs surveying in wind. Journal of Field Robotics, 37(3).

Hutchinson, M., Liu, C., Chen, W.-H. (2019) Information-Based Search for an Atmospheric Release Using a Mobile Robot: Algorithm and Experiments. IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, 27(6).

Yi, D., Su, J., Liu, C., Chen, W.-H. (2019) Trajectory clustering aided personalized driver intention prediction for intelligent vehicles. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, 15(6).

Su, J., Liu, C., Coombes, M., Hu, X., Wang, C., Xu, X., Li, Q., Guo, L., Chen, W.-H. (2018) Wheat yellow rust monitoring by learning from multispectral UAV aerial imagery. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 155.

Yu, M., Liu, C., Li, B., Chen, W.-H. (2016) An enhanced particle filtering method for GMTI radar tracking. IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 52(3).

External Collaborators:

  • MOD Dstl
  • Create Technologies Limited
  • Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd
  • Roke Manor Research
  • Frazer Nash Consultancy
  • AVL Powertrain UK Ltd
  • Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International

External roles and appointments:

  • PhD examiner: University of Bristol; Cranfield University; Queensland University of Technology; University of Manchester
  • MSc Programme examiner: University of Plymouth
  • Regular reviewer for academic journals, e.g. IEEE TCST, IEEE TIE, IEEE TIV, IEEE TAES, Automatica, etc.