Prof. Darren Ansell

Professor of Aerospace Engineering

School of Engineering

Computing and Technology Building, CM237

+44 (0) 1772 89 5304

Subject Areas: Engineering

Darren has been with the University of Central Lancashire since 2012. He is research active in the areas of aerospace engineering, specifically UAV/Drone mission systems and software, and intelligent systems development. He is the course leader for UCLan’s Aerospace Engineering degree programmes and leads the ‘Civic Drone Centre’ that collaborates with industry and other key stakeholders to rapidly develop and test new drone technology solutions.


Full Profile

At UCLan Darren is the Academic Lead for Aerospace Engineering and is leading a number of UAV research projects developing autonomous, intelligent software for the aerospace industry. He has led drone projects in the fields of industrial inspection, search and rescue, landmine clearance, agriculture, swarming, novel materials and air quality/toxicity measurements, and examining use of drones in cities.

In collaboration with the National Graphene Institute in Manchester, research is also being conducted into the application of graphene enhanced materials into aerospace and related sectors. Darren’s Aerospace Team have built the world’s first graphene demonstrator aircraft, and have tested graphene materials in the stratosphere using high altitude balloons. They are working on a number of graphene enhanced technologies including novel impact sensors.

Darren and his team are also transferring knowledge expertise from the aerospace sector into medical device development, pioneering development of a new wearable medical device for children who suffer with nocturnal enuresis.

He previously spent fourteen years working in the aerospace industry at in research management and research and development roles, specialising in Mission Systems and Autonomy for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.


Darren completed a PhD by research at Cranfield University in 2005 which developed new methods for optimising the performance of active array antennas using evolutionary algorithms, and later completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Management at Lancaster University in 2009.

  • Ph.D. Antenna Optimisation Using Evolutionary Algorithms, Cranfield University, 2005
  • B.Eng. (Hons.) Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UMIST, 1997


Kuru, Kaya , Ansell, Darren , Khan, Wasiq and Yetgin, Halil (2019) Analysis and optimisation of unmanned aerial vehicle swarms in logistics: An intelligent delivery platform. IEEE Access . (In Press)

Kuru, Kaya , Ansell, Darren , Jones, Martin, De Goede, Christian and Leather, Peter (2018) Feasibility study of intelligent autonomous determination of the bladder voiding need to treat bedwetting using ultrasound and smartphone ML techniques. Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing . ISSN 0140-0118

Khan, Wasiq , Ansell, Darren, Kuru, Kaya and Muhammad, Bilal (2018) Flight Guardian: Autonomous Flight Safety Improvement by Monitoring Aircraft Cockpit Instruments. Journal of Aerospace Information Systems, 15 (4). pp. 203-214.

View more publications



research Activities

  • Civic drones, payloads and applications
  • Graphene materials in aerospace
  • Medical device development
  • Intelligent Systems


  • NATEP – Intelligent Diversion Assistant
  • NATEP – Graphene Impact Sensors
  • NIHR i4i – MyPad (Nocturnal Enuresis Device)
  • Google - Sensemaker

Teaching activities

  • Academic Lead for Aerospace Engineering
  • Course Leader for Aerospace Engineering B.Eng and M.Eng
  • EI4000 Aerospace Group Project
  • EI4010 Aerospace Vehicle Simulation
  • EI4900 Computational Modelling