Professor Yang Gao is the Associate Dean (International) for Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (FEPS) and the Professor of Space Autonomous Systems at Surrey Space Centre (SSC). She is also the Head of the SSC-STAR Lab which specializes in robotic sensing, perception, visual GNC and biomimetic mechanisms for industrial applications in the extreme environments. She brings nearly 20 years of research experience in developing robotics and autonomous systems (RAS), in which she has been Principle Investigator of internationally teamed projects funded by UK Research Councils (EPSRC/STFC), InnovateUK, Royal Academy of Engineering, European Commission, European Space Agency, UK Space Agency, as well as industrial companies such as Airbus D&S, Neptec, Sellafield, and OHB. Yang is also actively involved in design and development of real-world space missions like ESA's ExoMars, Proba3 and LUCE-ice mapper, UK's MoonLITE/Moonraker, and China's Chang'E3, etc. In recent years, Yang's work has also been applied to several non-space sectors including nuclear and agriculture.
Yang is an Elected Fellow of Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS). She had been named by the Times Higher Education as one of ten young leading academics in the UK who are making a very significant contribution to their disciplines. Her supervised PhD research has received several international awards, such as International Astronautical Federation’s 3AF Edmond Brun Silver Medal in 2013, COSPAR's Outstanding Paper Award in 2016, First Prize of UKSEDS Lunar Rover Competition in 2017.
In her research field, Yang has co-authored two books (by Wiley-VCH and by McGraw-Hill) and over hundred scientific papers in internationally refereed books, journals and conference proceedings. She is a Guest Editor of international journals (e.g. IEEE CIM and IJICC), an Invited Member of various international committees (e.g. IEEE CIS and RAS technical committees, Royal Society's Newton Committee), an Invited Chair and Speaker at various international conferences and summer schools (incl. IEEE CDC, iSAIRAS, IET public seminar, AMSAT symposium, UK astrobiology and planetary exploration meeting series, COSPAR summer school on planetary and space science). Yang was the Conference General Chair of TAROS-2017, the longest running UK-hosted international conference on robotics and autonomous systems.
Prior to joining SSC in 2004, Yang was an awardee of the prestigious Singapore Millennium Foundation (SMF) Postdoctoral Fellowship and worked on intelligent and autonomous vehicles. She gained the B.Eng. (First Class Honors) degree and Ph.D. degree from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore in 2000 and 2003 respectively.