Dr Zeyn Saigol

Principal Safety Engineer at Oxbotica

Milton Keynes, UK


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Research Summary | Publications & PhD Thesis | Software | Résumé

From 2005–2015 I worked in academia, performing research in AI and robotics. This page provides access to my publications.

Research Summary

Most recently I was a postdoc in the Ocean Systems Laboratory (OSL) at Heriot-Watt University. I worked with David Lane on various projects including the Sustained Autonomy EPSRC AIS project, an acoustic communications network project with Canada's DRDC, and the European FP7 project PANDORA.

I co-supervised the PhD students Nikolaos Tsiogkas and Georgios Papadimitriou, and also helped out Georgios Fagogenis. Nick Tsiogkas works on planning efficient paths for multi-robot teams in the face of communications channel limits, and George Papadimitriou uses semantic knowledge representation to aid mine-counter-measure missions, including using machine learning to diagnose the reasons for plan failures.

Prior to that I worked on the GeRT project in Birmingham's Intelligent Robotics Lab, which created smart software to make humanoid robots capable of handling novel objects in an office or household setting. In collaboration with Richard Dearden I developed ways of learning generic actions from example task scripts, which was part of Work Package 1 of the project.

My PhD was supervised by Jeremy Wyatt and Richard Dearden, and was on planning under uncertainty in the domain of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The aim was for the submersible robot to make decisions to maximise the scientific reward obtained from a mission – for example, it should weigh up the probability of finding another site of interest against the risk of running out of battery before it is able to return to the surface. There are some movies of my novel algorithms in action available (DIVX encoded). This work was in collaboration with Bramley Murton from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Publications and PhD Thesis


Zeyn Saigol, Robert Myers, Alan Peters, and Tim Edwards
MUSICC: An open catalogue for CAV certification scenarios
In Virtual ITS European Congress. September 2020.

Robert Myers and Zeyn Saigol
Pass-Fail Criteria for Scenario-Based Testing of Automated Driving Systems
arXiv:2005.09417. May 2020.

Zeyn Saigol and Alan Peters
Verifying Automated Driving Systems in Simulation: Framework and Challenges
In 25th ITS World Congress, Copenhagen. September 2018.

Zeyn Saigol, Alan Peters, Matthew Barton, and Mark Taylor
Regulating and Accelerating Development of Highly Automated and Autonomous Vehicles Through Simulation and Modelling
TSC Technical Report. March 2018.

Zeyn Saigol, Bram Ridder, Minlue Wang, Richard Dearden, Maria Fox, Nick Hawes, David M Lane, and Derek Long
Efficient Search for Known Objects in Unknown Environments Using Autonomous Indoor Robots
In Workshop on Task Planning for Intelligent Robots in Service and Manufacturing, IROS 2015. October 2015.

Zeyn Saigol, Minlue Wang, Bram Ridder, and David M Lane
The Benefits of Explicit Ontological Knowledge-Bases for Robotic Systems (poster)
In Proceedings of TAROS 2015. September 2015.

Nikolaos Tsiogkas, Zeyn Saigol, and David Lane
Distributed Multi-AUV Cooperation Methods for Underwater Archaeology
In Proceedings of OCEANS MTS/IEEE Genova 2015. May 2015.

Georgios Papadimitriou, Zeyn Saigol, and David Lane
Enabling Fault Recovery and Adaptation in Mine-Countermeasures Missions Using Ontologies
In Proceedings of OCEANS MTS/IEEE Genova 2015. May 2015.

Francesco Maurelli, Zeyn Saigol, David Lane, Michael Cashmore, Bram Ridder, and Daniele Magazzeni
On AUV actions to correctly label world information
In Proceedings of OCEANS MTS/IEEE St. John's 2014. September 2014.

Nikolaos Tsiogkas, Georgios Papadimitriou, Zeyn Saigol, and David Lane
Efficient Multi-AUV Cooperation using Semantic Knowledge Representation for Underwater Archaeology Missions
In Proceedings of OCEANS MTS/IEEE St. John's 2014. September 2014.

Francesco Maurelli, Zeyn Saigol, David Lane
Cognitive knowledge representation under uncertainty for autonomous underwater vehicles
In Workshop on Persistent Autonomy for Underwater Robotics, ICRA 2014. June 2014.

Zeyn A Saigol, Gordon Frost, Nikolaos Tsiogkas, Francesco Maurelli, David M Lane, Alex Bourque, and Bao Nguyen
Facilitating Cooperative AUV Missions: Experimental Results with an Acoustic Knowledge-Sharing Framework
In Proceedings of OCEANS MTS/IEEE San Diego 2013. September 2013.

Francesco Maurelli, Zeyn A Saigol, Georgios Papadimitriou, Tom Larkworthy, Valerio De Carolis, and David M Lane
Probabilistic Approaches in Ontologies: Joining Semantics and Uncertainty for AUV Persistent Autonomy
In Proceedings of OCEANS MTS/IEEE San Diego 2013. September 2013.

Chris Burbridge, Zeyn A Saigol, Florian Schmidt, Christoph Borst, and Richard W Dearden
Learning Operators for Manipulation Planning
In Proceedings of IROS 2012. October 2012.

Francesco Maurelli, Zeyn A Saigol, Carlos C Insaurralde, Yvan R Petillot, and David M Lane
Marine World Representation And Acoustic Communication: Challenges For Multi-Robot Collaboration
In Proceedings of 2012 IEEE/OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV2012). September 2012.

Francesco Maurelli, Zeyn A Saigol, Joel Cartwright, David M Lane, Alex Bourque, and Bao Nguyen
TDMA-Based Exchange Policies For Multi-Robot Communication Of World Information
In Proceedings of IFAC MCMC 2012 - Manoeuvring and Control of Marine Craft. September 2012.

Zeyn A Saigol, Richard W Dearden, Jeremy L Wyatt, and Bramley J Murton
Belief Change Maximisation for Hydrothermal Vent Hunting Using Occupancy Grids
In Proceedings of TAROS 2010. September 2010.

Zeyn Saigol, Frédéric Py, Kanna Rajan, Conor McGann, Jeremy Wyatt, and Richard Dearden
Randomized Testing for Robotic Plan Execution for Autonomous Systems
In Proceedings of 2010 IEEE/OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV2010). September 2010.

Zeyn A Saigol, Richard W Dearden, Jeremy L Wyatt, and Bramley J Murton
Information-Lookahead Planning for AUV Mapping
In Proceedings of IJCAI 2009. July 2009.
Also a long version of the paper, published as Tech Report CSR-09-01, which has colour versions of the figures and some extra derivations.

Richard W Dearden, Zeyn A Saigol, Jeremy L Wyatt, and Bramley J Murton
Planning for AUVs: Dealing with a Continuous Partially-Observable Environment
In Workshop on Planning and Plan Execution for Real-World Systems, ICAPS 2007. September 2007.

Tim L Phillips, Zeyn A Saigol, and Simon Hanna
Computer Simulation of Rotator Phases in Liquid-Crystalline Polymers
In Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals, Volume 303, Issue 1, pages 9 - 14. September 1997.

PhD Thesis

Zeyn A Saigol
Automated Planning for Hydrothermal Vent Prospecting Using AUVs
(Also a screen-friendly version with hyperlinks and less spacing)
PhD Thesis, IRLab, University of Birmingham. April 2011.


A Java GraphPlan implementation, which takes problems defined in PDDL as input.

Software for fitting an Integrate-and-Fire model to neural data, using a linear-regression-based technique. The code is written in MATLAB, and was developed for my Edinburgh MSc project.

I thoroughly recommend Lyx, an open-source editor that liberates you from having to write raw LaTeX.


I'm a technical leader in safety and standards for autonomous vehicles.

Oxbotica, Oxford, UK – Principal Safety Engineer [current position]
Connected Places Catapult (CPC), Milton Keynes, UK – Principal Technologist
   (I worked at the Transport Systems Catapult prior to April 2019, when it was merged into the CPC)
ASV Ltd, Portsmouth, UK – Unmanned Systems Developer (R&D)

As outlined above, from 2005–2015 I worked in academia:

Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK – Research Associate in the OSL
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK – Research Associate in the IRLab

University of Birmingham, PhD in Intelligent Robotics
Thesis: Automated planning for hydrothermal vent prospecting using AUVs
Supervisors: Jeremy Wyatt and Richard Dearden

During my PhD, I spent a summer as an intern at MBARI in California, working with Kanna Rajan on MBARI's AUVs. My main project was a Monte-Carlo test harness.

University of Edinburgh, MSc in Informatics (with distinction)
Specialism: Learning from Data
Dissertation: An Evaluation of the Fidelity of the Integrate-and-Fire Model for Neural Data, dealing with numerical optimisation of neural models.
Supervisors: Chris Williams and David Sterratt

Before that I was a software developer, mostly writing web-based Java applications with RDBMS back-ends. I worked for the following companies (in reverse chronological order):

Interoute Communications
Mediasurface (now part of SDL, via Alterian)
Pentacom Communications (now defunct)
Tertio (now merged into Evolving Systems)
SSA Softwright (now merged into Syniverse Technologies)

My first round in higher education consisted of:

Imperial College London, MSc in Computing (with distinction)
Dissertation: A C to C++ Converter, describing a refactoring tool for converting structs and functions in C programs into classes and member functions in C++ code.
Supervisor: Sophia Drossopoulou

University of Bristol, BSc in Physics (I)
Final year project: Simulation of a liquid crystal polymer