Dr. Roberto Sabatini
Dr. Roberto Sabatini Professor
Teaching Areas
Research Interests

Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering

Roberto (Rob) Sabatini is a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics with three decades of experience in Aerospace, Defence and Robotics/Autonomous Systems research and education, acquired in progressively more responsible industry, government and academic positions in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.

Prof. Sabatini holds various academic qualifications, including a PhD in Aerospace/Avionics Systems, a PhD in Space Geodesy/Satellite Navigation and an Advanced MEng in Astronautics/Space Systems. Additionally, he is a Private Pilot (fixed wing), Remote Pilot (multirotor UAS) and Flight Test Engineer (fast jets). Throughout his career, he led several industry and government funded research projects and he authored or co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed international publications. Prof. Sabatini is currently listed in the top 2% most cited scientists globally in Aerospace and Aeronautics.

Prof. Sabatini is a Fellow and Executive of the Institution of Engineers Australia, Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation. He was conferred prestigious national and international awards including: Distinguished Leadership Award - Aviation/Aerospace Australia (2021); Scientist of the Year - Australian Defence Industry Awards (2019); Northrop Grumman Professorial Scholarship (2017); Science Award - Sustainable Aviation Research Society (2016); Arch T. Colwell Merit Award - Society of Automotive Engineering (2015); Scientific Achievement Award - NATO Research & Technology Organisation (2008).

In addition to his primary duties at Khalifa University and some honorary/consulting appointments in Europe, North America, Australia, Asia and South Africa, Prof. Sabatini serves as Chair of the IEEE AESS Avionics Systems Panel, AESS Distinguished Lecturer (Aerospace Cyber-Physical and Autonomous Systems), Editor for Progress in Aerospace Sciences, Senior Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, and Associate Editor for Robotica, the Journal of Navigation, and Aerospace Science and Technology.

  • PhD, Aerospace/Avionics Systems, Cranfield University (UK)
  • PhD, Space Geodesy/Satellite Navigation, University of Nottingham (UK)
  • MSc, Navigation Technology/Air, Marine and Land Systems, University of Nottingham (UK)
  • MEng, Astronautics/Satellites and Space Platforms, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)

Professional Licenses

  • Remote Aircraft Pilot License (Multirotor Helicopter), Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority
  • Aircraft Private Pilot License (Airplane), Italian Civil Aviation Authority
  • Flight Test Engineer (Military Aircraft), ITAF Research and Flight Test Division
Teaching Areas
  • Avionics Systems Design
  • Spaceflight Systems Design
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems
  • Air Traffic Management Systems
  • Satellite and Integrated Navigation Systems
  • Aerospace Systems and Software Engineering
Research Interests

Research Topics

  • Aerospace Vehicle Design and Testing
  • Avionics and Air Traffic Management Systems
  • Spaceflight Systems Design and Operations
  • Aerospace Robotics and Autonomous Systems
  • Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and UAS Traffic Management
  • Advanced Air Mobility and Urban Air Mobility
  • Distributed and Intelligent Satellite Systems
  • Space Domain Awareness and Space Traffic Management
  • GNSS Integrity Monitoring and Augmentation
  • Defense C4ISR and Electronic Warfare Systems
  • Cognitive Human-Machine Systems

Recent Research Projects

  • SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) PhD Scholarship: Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Distributed Satellite Systems (DSS) Autonomous Operations (2020-23)
  • Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG): Satellite Resilience and Autonomous Manoeuvring (2021)
  • Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Australia): Airspace Risk Modelling Research Program. Evolutions for low-level ATM, Rocket Launch/Re-entry and UAS operations (2020-21)
  • Insitec Defence (Australia) PhD Scholarship – AI for System Fault Detection and Data Bus Optimisation (2020-21)
  • Lockheed Martin – Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership, Research Laboratory (STELaRLab), PhD Internship: AI for Aerospace and Defence Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) – Gaining Insights into Complex Suggestions (2020-21)
  • SmartSat CRC (Australia): Human-Autonomy Team for Intelligent Distributed Satellite Operations (2019-22)
  • Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (USA): Cognitive Human-Machine System for Multiple UAS and LEO Satellite Operations. Focus on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions (2019-23)
  • Lockheed Martin –  STELaRLab PhD Internship: AI for Aerospace and Defence CPS – Optimisation of Personal Preferences (2020-21)
  • Defence Science Institute (DSI) PhD Scholarship: Low Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWaP-C) Unmanned Aircraft Navigation and Guidance Systems in GNSS-denied environments (2019-21)
  • Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC): A Novel LIDAR System UAS and Satellite Plant Heath Assessment – Deploying Advanced Sensors to Meet Fruit Export Requirements for China (2019-23)
  • Australian Department of Defence (DoD) Land Engineering Agency (LEA): Diagnostics and Prognostics Models and Software Tools for Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (2019-20)
  • Australian Mineral Industries Research Association (AMIRA): Developing UAV-Mounted Geophysical Sensor Arrays – UAV and Avionics Systems (2019-20)
  • British Maritime Technology (BMT) Defence and Security Australia PhD Internship: An Intelligent Vision Based Surveillance System for UAS Search-and-Rescue (2019-20)
  • Thales Australia: Human-Autonomy Interactions for Very Low-Level Air Traffic Operations – UAS Traffic Management and Urban Air Mobility (2019-22)
  • Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (USA): Cognitive Human-Machine System for “One-to-Many” UAS Operations (2018-21)
  • Australian Government, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science – Defence Innovation Hub (DIH): Stop-Rotor Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) UAS Guidance, Navigation and Control (2018-19)
  • Jetstar Airways (Australia) PhD Internship: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Future Technology Applications (2018-19)
  • Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (USA): Cognitive Processing and Machine Learning for Aerospace and Defence Systems (2017-20)
  • Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group (Australia): Cognitive and Adaptive Human-Machine Interfaces for Aerospace Systems – Civil/Military ATM and UAS Command & Control (2016-17)
  • Defence Science Institute/DST Maritime Future Technology Watch Program (Australia): Development of a Novel Tool for Recoverability in Maritime Evacuation (2017)
  • THALES Australia: Development of a Cognitive Human-Machine Interface and Interaction (HMI2) for Next Generation Air Traffic Management Systems (2016-19)
  • Defence Science Institute/DST Maritime Future Technology Watch Program (Australia): Decision Support Tool to Reduce Maritime Platform Hazards and Incidents (2017)
  • Defence Science Institute (Australia): Development of the dynamics model of the Stop-Rotor UAV for accurate performance evaluation (2016-17)

Advisor to the following students and staff (research projects):

  • Dr Alessandro Gardi, Senior Research Fellow, External
  • Dr Suraj Bijjahalli, Research Fellow, External
  • Mr Andoh Afful, Research Assitant, External
  • Mr Kavindu Ranasinghe, PhD Candidate, External
  • Mr Samuel Hilton, PhD Candidate, External
  • Ms Nichakorn Pongsankornsathien, External
  • Mr Lars Planke, PhD Candidate, External
  • Mr Thomas Fahey, PhD Candidate, External
  • Mr Kathiravan Thangavel, PhD Candidate, External
  • Mr Maidul Islam, PhD Candidate, External
  • Mr Yibing Xie, PhD Candidate, External
  • Mr Peijie Xu, PhD Candidate, External

Affiliations to KU Research Centers

  • Khalifa University Aerospace Research and Innovation Centre
  • Khalifa University Space Technology and Innovation Center
  • Khalifa University Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems

External Affiliations:

  • Honorary Professor, RMIT University, School of Engineering and Sir Lawrence Wackett Defence & Aerospace Centre (Australia)
  • Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Korea Aerospace Research Institute (South Korea)
  • Adjunct Professor, Space Science Centre, Durban University of Technology (South Africa)
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Control, Instrumentation and Robotics Engineering, Chosun University (South Korea)