About Dr David Johnson

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. Radar has the potential to allow autonomous robotic systems to operate in environments where they otherwise could not be left to their own devices.

While a lot of robots use lasers to map out the world around them, even they can't see through thick smoke or tall grass, so I develop imaging radar systems that allow robots to map out their world, detecting obstacles and otherwise hidden dangers.

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 was unique in combining state-of-the-art research in both robotics 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, leading to multiple awards for my research into systems for improving mining efficiency. 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 publications

  1. Brooker, G., Johnson, D. (2015). Low-cost millimeter wave imaging using a commercial plasma display. IEEE Sensors Journal, 15(6), 3557-3564. [More Information]
  2. 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]
  3. Reina, G., Johnson, D., Underwood, J. (2015). Radar sensing for intelligent vehicles in urban environments. Sensors, 15(6), 14661-14678. [More Information]
  4. 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]
  5. Johnson, D., Brooker, G. (2015). Automated RF tomographic imaging of utility poles above and below ground. 2015 International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation (ISAP2015), Hobart: IEICE - Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers.
  6. Anderson, T., Johnson, D. (2015). Computational simulation of millimetre wave radar with a modified ray tracing renderer. 2015 International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation (ISAP2015), Hobart: IEICE - Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers.
  7. 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]
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.