Contact Dr Yifan Zhao

Areas of expertise

  • Computing, Simulation & Modelling
  • Human Factors
  • Industrial Automation
  • Instrumentation, Sensors and Measurement Science
  • Systems Engineering
  • Through-life Engineering Services


Dr Yifan Zhao received his PhD degree from the University of Sheffield in 2007. He also has MSc and BEng degrees from the Beijing Institute of Technology, China. Before joining Cranfield in 2013, Yifan worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, where his research activities focused on nonlinear signal processing and analysis for complex system and their cross-disciplinary applications in medical, climatic and industry areas.

Research opportunities

The Complex Systems and Intelligence Data Processing research group currently has 2 academia, 6 research staff,10 PhD students and 10 MSc students. It has the following open PhD opportunities:
1. Development of a thermography-based Intelligent materials characterisation system
2. Early diagnosis of dementia based on EEG data using artificial intelligence approaches
3. Correlation and causality detection using nonlinear system identification methods
4. Development of driver behaviour monitoring system for future autonomous vehicles
5. Digital Twin for predictive active thermography
6. Brain-Machine Interface for manufacturing
7. Medical image analysis using artificial intelligence approaches
8. Image quality improvement using Artificial intelligence
9. Artificial intelligence for construction sites for safety enhancement
10. Image fusion using Generative Adversarial network

Current activities

Dr Zhao has over 20 years of experience in image/signal processing, computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) for degradation assessment and anomaly detection for complex engineering systems. The applications cover critical asset health monitoring for construction sites, non-destructive testing & evaluation for high-value engineering components, driver-behaviour monitoring for human-driving and automated vehicles, and medical data and image processing.

Currently, he is leading a research group focusing on Complex Systems and Intelligence Data Processing, including both theoretical development and applications across Digital Manufacturing, Transport, Healthcare, Construction and Communication sectors. 

The group’s key research areas are: 

  • Digital Twins for enhanced productivity and sustainability
  • AI and Health monitoring of complex systems 
  • AI and Human behaviour analysis
  • Non-destructive Testing (e.g., Active Thermography)
  • Computer vision and AI for automated vehicles 
  • EEG/EMG/fMRI signal analysis 
  • Correlation and causality 
  • Image and video Super Resolution 
  • Medical image processing

Current Grants:

  • PI, BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), “Fuel Coach - using computer vision technology, machine sensors and nudge-based behaviour coaching to reduce construction site emissions and fuel costs.”, £675K, 2021-2023
  • PI, Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowship, titled "A Digital Twin of construction machinery for improved energy efficiency", IF2223B-110
  • PI, “Cognitive states estimation using non-intrusive electroencephalogram”, funded by Jaguar Land Rover

Completed  Grants

  • PI, EPSRC IAA, "Development of driver behaviour tracking technology for semi-autonomous and human-driving vehicles", £40K, 2020-2022
  • PI, Higher Education Innovation Fund, “Commercialisation and knowledge exchange of BAMCAM for the construction sector”, £31K, 2022-2022
  • PI, Innovate UK, "One Source of Truth: Using AI & Computer vision to reduce contract disputes, manage warranties in MMC building and measure productivity & safety" (Ref: 44190), £650K, 2020-2021
  • Co-I, DSTL, "Sonar data processing using machine learning"
  • Co-I, EPSRC, “Distributed Intelligent Ultrasound Imaging System for Secure in-community Diagnostics (SecureUltrasound)”, EP/R013950/1, £1 M, 2018-2021
  • PI, HEIF, "Exploration of The Learning Camera in construction sector", £20K, 2019-2020
  • PI, Lloyd Registration Foundation, “Prototype development of a Real-time Electronic Counterfeit Batch Inspection Technique (RECBIT)”, GA 100113, £250 K, 2018-2020
  • Co-I, Jaguar Land Rover and EPSRC, "TASCC: Driver-Cognition-Oriented Optimal Control Authority Shifting for Adaptive Automated Driving (CogShift)", EP/N012089/1, £2 M, 2015-2019
  • PI, Innovate UK, "The Learning Camera" (Ref: 22994), £274 K, 2018-2019
  • Academic Supervisor, KTP with iDirect, “Anomaly detection of satellite architectures”, £130 K, 2017-2019
  • Co-I, BAE Systems, PhD project “Process monitoring and control for Wire + Arc Additive Manufacture”, £100 K, 2016-2019


  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • BAE Systems 
  • NHS
  • BAM Nuttall Ltd
  • ITA Labs 
  • Anti Counterfeiting Forum
  • iDirect


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers