Dr Blair Thornton

Dr Blair Thornton

Associate Professor of Oceanic Engineering Science, University of Southampton

Dr Blair Thornton is an Associate Professor at the University of Southampton with more than 10 years of international research experience in marine autonomy and sensing. His research focuses on improving the observational capabilities and perception awareness of underwater robotic systems through the development of novel in situ optical sensors and intelligent data processing methods. He is dedicated to fielding real systems in real environments and overcoming bottlenecks in the flow of information from data-collection through to human interpretation.

After graduating from ship-science in 2002, Blair went on to complete his PhD in underwater robotics at Southampton in 2006. During his PhD, he spent 2 years at the URA laboratory, Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) at the University of Tokyo, Japan, and continued his research there as a government funded postdoctoral fellow. In 2008, he was appointed Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor and he established the Ocean Perception Laboratory in 2012. He rejoined the University of Southampton in 2016 in his current role. During this time, he has participated in more than 40 ocean research expeditions (26 of which as principal investigator) and spent over 350 days at sea. He is an associate editor for the IEEE/Journal of Oceanic Engineering, and was awarded the Okamura Kenji prize for outstanding contribution to marine technology in 2014 for his contribution to seafloor debris and radiation monitoring following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster in the Tohoku region of Japan.

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