Dr Simukai Utete is currently the Academic Director at AIMS South Africa but still conducts researcher as a Senior Researcher at the AIMS South Africa Research Centre. Her undergraduate degree was in electrical engineering from the University of Zimbabwe. She completed her MSc and DPhil studies at the University of Oxford and went on to do a Junior Research Fellowship and further research there as a Research Assistant.
She moved to South Africa in 2008 to join the CSIR’s Mobile Intelligent Autonomous Systems (MIAS) field robotics group, and in 2009 was appointed Research Leader of MIAS. She led MIAS for over four years.
Simukai’s area of research is robotics, with a focus on intelligent sensor networks for robotics applications. In particular, the development of methods to achieve systems which can operate with high levels of autonomy, for robotics and related applications. This includes the study of problems in data fusion and decision fusion, and intelligent sensor networks, including decentralised sensing systems. One of her related areas of interest is intelligent monitoring – applying techniques for coordination and communication in intelligent sensor networks so that they can be used, for example, in environmental monitoring. She is also interested in the intersection of robotics and condition monitoring, and the application of methods spanning both areas to the development of intelligent systems.