I am Associate Professor at the School of Engineering of the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO), Seville, Spain, where I founded and lead the Service Robotics Laboratory. I hold a Ph.D. degree on Robotics, from the University of Seville under the supervision of Anibal Ollero. This thesis was awarded with the ABB Award to the Best Doctoral Dissertation on Robotics 2007 in Spain, given by the Spanish Committee of Automation (CEA, Robotics Group).

My main research lines deal with cooperative robotic systems, including multi-robot systems and the cooperation between robots and persons. In these lines I have made contributions on new localization and navigation techniques, cooperative perception methods, decision making under uncertainties, and human-robot collaboration in social settings.

Regarding robot navigation and cooperative robotics, I have supervised 2 theses and I am supervising 3 more in these topics, 2 of them in collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). I have also led research projects at the regional, national and international levels. Our group participated in the Mohammed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) in 2020. Our joint UPM-UPO-Poznan team finished third in the Grand Finale of the competition.

Furthermore, I have extended those lines of research to the case in which robots operate in environments with people. I have carried out research on human-aware robot navigation, people detection and motion prediction models, and machine learning applied to social robotics. I have led UPO's participation in two EU funded projects on these topics, and we have also initiated an important collaboration with Honda Research Institute Japan in social robotics.

In sum, I am leading or have led UPO’s team as PI in 2 H2020 Projects, 4 FP7 Projects, 3 projects funded by the National R&D Program, and 3 projects from the regional government of Andalusia, in these lines. I also lead transfer projects in cooperation with industry, in which some of the former research outputs are exploited, including international companies. As a result, our groip has contributed to the development and deployment of different robots.

I also have cooperation with centers related to policy advice as the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, in the HUMAINT project on the impact of artificial intelligence on human behavior. In our research group, we foster publishing our code and datasets as open source as contributions to the community and to promote reproducibility of research results. I have also participated in dissemination activities aimed to the general public, like the European Researcher Night, Science Fairs.

In the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO), I led the creation of the Systems Engineering and Automation division of UPO's School of Computer Science, where I have been Vice-Dean for five years. I have been member of the Academic Commmittee of UPO's Doctoral Program on Biotechnology and Engineering for 4 years. I am currently Academic Coordinator of the Computer Science degree.

Regarding professional activities, I serve as Associated Editor of the Image and Vision Computing and IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters journals, and of ICRA and IROS, the two flagship conferences on robotics. I have reviewed grants for national and international programs like FONDECYT (Chile), Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program (USA) and the ERC.


Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Edificio 11 Despacho 2.12
Crta. Utrera km. 1
41013 Sevilla (SPAIN)
e-mail:lmercab at upo dot es