Liam, born in Cape Town, and is probably best known for being a robotics researcher at NASA Ames Research Center, building intelligent robot systems to look for life on Mars and thinking about the future of space exploration. Today, Liam is leading Nissan’s autonomous vehicle research program in California and is glad to report that, as of last month, Nissan and NASA have agreed to work jointly on the autonomous cars.
Liam spent most of his childhood overseas. Upon returning to South Africa he had to flee to Swaziland to avoid conscription and get more education, before being allowed back into the United States as a Fulbright Scholar.
Liam received B.Sc. and B.Sc. Honours degrees from Rhodes University in South Africa, an M.S.E.E. at George Washington University and a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 2001. He has worked extensively with rovers and planetary scientists in the Atacama Desert, the Canadian arctic, and Antarctica. He built the system onboard CMU’s Nomad robot that allowed it to autonomously identify meteorites in Antarctica in January 2000.