Mickey Li

Mickey Li

PhD Researcher in Aerial Robotics and Multi-Robot Systems

Bristol Robotics Laboratory

University of Bristol

University of The West of England


Mickey is a Robotics and Autonomous systems PhD researcher at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and the University of Bristol. After graduating with a first from Joint Mathematics and Computer Science at Imperial College London, he joined the FARSCOPE CDT program supervised by Professor Arthur Richards and sponsored by the Toshiba Bristol Research and Innovation Laboratory. His research focuses on optimal multi-UAV path planning for building inspection, in particular how guarantees can be provided despite vehicle failures. Most recently he has been developing a portable development and deployment infrastructure for multi-UAV experimentation for the BRL Flight Arena inspired by advances in cloud computing

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  • UAVs
  • Multi-Robot Systems
  • Optimisation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Real World Robotics
  • FARSCOPE PhD in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 2023

    Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, UK

  • MEng Joint Mathematics and Computer Science, 2018

    Imperial College, London, UK


PX4 Autopilot


Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of Bristol
PhD Researcher in Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Sep 2018 – Present Bristol, UK

My research is focused on investigating the practical use of multi-drone and multi-agent systems. In particular, how the whole system can remain robust and reliable in the prescence of failures. The specific focus is on developing failure-aware multi-drone algorithms for coverage path planning for use in structural and infrastructure inspection. This work includes the following:

  • Proposed a novel probabilistic framework for evaluation the reliability of a path plan called Reliability-Aware Multi-Agent Coverage Path Planning (RA-MCPP)
  • Designed and developed software infrastructure for multi-drone flight known as Starling using ROS2, PX4, Docker and Kubernetes.
  • Investigating Online Reliabity-Aware Coverage Path Planning and its feasibility.

Supervised by Professor Arthur Richards (Bristol) and Professor Mahesh Sooriyabandara (Tohisba). Funded by ESPRC FASRCOPE Center for Doctoral Training in robotics and autonomous systems.

University of Bristol
Research Associate
Apr 2023 – Apr 2024 Bristol, UK

Responsibile for the development, generation and testing of a novel drone vertiport approach and depature topologies and operations. Collaboration with with Hirad Gourdazi, supervised by Prof. Arthur Richards.

  • Software and hardware integration of a GUI mavlink, mavlink-router and mavp2p for safe multi-drone flight.
  • Investigating optimisation of optimal spatial topologies.
University of Bristol
Teaching Associate
Jun 2022 – Sep 2022 Bristol, UK

Responsible for providing teaching and support of the MSc Aerial Robotics MSc Programme.

  • Delivered lectures on the developed Starling system and ran weekly software tutorials.
  • Supervised 7 MSc students for their final year projects on multipel different topics including path planning, marsupial robot control and bluetooth communications.
University of Bristol
Research Associate
Dec 2021 – Feb 2022 Bristol, UK

Responsibile for the development and testing of a novel motion planning algorithm on a real drone. I worked closely with Dr Saurabh Upadhyay on re-implementing his fast motion planner for UAVs. I extended his algorithm to a receeding horizon formulation to enable dynamic reaction and obstacle avoidance.

  • Re-implemnted from MATLAB to RUST for greater performance on a Raspberry Pi.
  • Integrated the motion planner into a deployable container for the Starling system in the BRL Flight Arena.
  • Performed simulated and real testing of the motion planner on real UAVs.
University of Bristol
Lead Project Manager and Developer for Outreach Project
Apr 2021 – Jun 2021 Bristol, UK

Developed and publically released an educational game submission for the UK-RAS 2021 Robotics Week. I lead a team of 7 volunteer postgraduate students through the planning and development of the RoC-Ex: Robotics Cave Explorer game. The game is designed to teach children and teenagers how a robot senses the world and its environment through the exploration of a cave.

As the voluntary project manager, I suggested and pushed for methods to ensure that we would complete in time. This included organising 2 weekend “hackathon sessions” in which we all sat together to develop the game. As a developer, my responsibility was to integrate the models and missions into the Godot game engine, and to setup deployment and delivery of the game.

The game was successfully released to the general public with currently over 600 hits. RoC-Ex is still available online here. and more details are available in the RoC-Ex project post

Toshiba Europe Ltd, Toshiba Bristol Research and Innovation Laboratory (BRIL)
PhD Research Intern
Dec 2020 – Mar 2021 Bristol, UK
Started protype development on the Starling Muli-UAV Infrastructure for development, deployment and testing of UAV applications.
Samsung Research and Development Institute
Summer Research Intern
Jun 2017 – Sep 2017 Staines-upon Thames, London, UK

Tasked to explore and analyse a large distributed dataset. I introduced the use of cluster computing with Apache Spark and build analysis tools with Spark an Pandas for data analysis

I then implemented a novel recommendation engine model known as Collaborative Deep Learning in Distributed Tensorflow.

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Recent Publications

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(2022). Starling: Containerisation Architecture for Scalable Local Development, Deployment and Testing of Multi-UAV Systems. Robotic Science and Systems 2022 Workshop on Envisioning an Infrastructure for Multi-Robot and Collaborative Autonomy Testing and Evaluation.

PDF Cite

(2021). Asynchronous Reliability-Aware Multi-UAVCoverage Path Planning. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).


(2021). Reliability-Aware Multi-UAV Coverage Path Planning using a Genetic Algorithm. AAMAS ‘21: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems.


(2020). Reliability-Aware Multi-UAV Coverage Path Planning Using Integer Linear Programming. UKRAS20 Conference: “Robots into the real world” Proceedings.


(2019). Investigating Robustness in Multi-Agent 3D Coverage Path Planning for Structural Inspection. Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

PDF Cite

(2018). Towards an Embodied Semantic Fovea: Semantic 3D scene reconstruction from ego-centric eye-tracker videos. European Conference on Computer Vision 2018 Workshop on Egocentric Perception and Computing.


(2018). Real Time Semantic Segmentation with SLAM for Gaze Intention Decoding. Department of Computer Science, Imperial College, London.



  • mickey "dot" li "at" bristol dot ac dot uk
  • Bristol Robotics Laboratory, T Block, Frenchay Campus, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, Bristol BS34 8QZ
  • Flight Arena within the Bristol Robotics Laboratory