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UTIAS News

Follow UTIAS PhD Graduate Dr. Javier Romualdez’s Blog About His Antarctica Research Adventure

Well, it’s our first Condition 2 weather here in McMurdo, so I have some time to post a few pictures highlighting a phrase that we hear all the time here: “Antarctica: it’s a harsh continent”. Up until now, we had,… Read more »

UTIAS Professor Jonathan Kelly Receives Dean’s Catalyst Professorship

Twenty-seven U of T Engineering assistant professors have been appointed to early-career professorships across three new programs for tenure- and teaching-stream faculty members. The professorships, created by Dean Cristina Amon, will enhance research in emerging areas and practices in engineering education… Read more »

Two U of T Engineering faculty named Canada Research Chairs

Professors Angela Schoellig (UTIAS) and Piero Triverio (ECE) have been awarded new and renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRC), respectively, by the Canadian federal government. The announcement was made by The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, at the University of Toronto’s St…. Read more »

Research

Prof. Ömer Gülder
Combustion and Propulsion Lab

Research Focus

  1. Improving the understanding of the combustion process to convert chemical energy to thermal energy or propulsive force
  2. Paving the way for more efficient and environmentally friendly combustion of both traditional and alternative fuels

Current Projects

  1. Soot aerosol formation in high pressure combustion
  2. Low-emission combustor technologies for high-efficiency compact aviation gas turbine engines
  3. Thermal oxidative and pyrolytic stability of aviation jet fuels
  4. Turbulent premixed flame dynamics
  5. Soot formation in turbulent non-premixed combustion

Image: 3D flow field of a swirl stabilized model gas turbine combustor

Prof. Steven Waslander
Toronto Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (TRAILab)

Research Focus

  1. Simultaneous localization and mapping with dynamic camera clusters, and perception for autonomous driving
  2. Uncertainty estimation for deep neural networks using classical and learning approaches to improve perception

Current Projects

  1. Developing active vision techniques that allow robotic platforms to improve robustness through targeted sensor data acquisition
  2. Public road driving experiments of a fully functional autonomous vehicle for demonstrating  state-of-the-art perception and planning methods in real-time on in-vehicle hardware

Image: Drone deployments from ships for iceberg monitoring and extent mapping in St. John’s, Newfoundland

Prof. Jonathan Kelly
Space and Terrestrial Autonomous Robotic Systems (STARS Lab)

Research Focus:

  1. Creating robust autonomous systems that are able to operate independently over long durations in challenging environments on Earth and in Space
  2. Designing and developing collaborative robots (cobots) which are intended to operate in human-centred, shared workspaces

Current Projects:

  1. Energy-aware traverse planning for planetary rovers
  2. Deep learning for accurate, long-term visual localization
  3. Collaborative mobile manipulation in dynamic, uncertain environments

Image: Husky rover undergoing field trials at the Canadian Space Agency Mars Analogue Terrain facility as part of the STARS Lab research project on energy-aware path planning

Prof. David Zingg
Computational Aerodynamics 

Research Focus

  1. To advance the state of the art in algorithms for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as well as aerodynamic shape optimization and aerostructural optimization
  2. To apply these algorithms to the development of drag reduction techniques and the next generation of aircraft with greatly reduced greenhouse gas emissions per passenger-km

Current Projects

  1. Investigation of unconventional aircraft configurations, such as the hybrid wing-body and the truss-braced wing through aerodynamic shape optimization and multidisciplinary design optimization
  2. Development of novel high-order summation-by-parts operators applicable to unstructured meshes, including entropy-stable schemes

Image: Unconventional aircraft configurations could be critical to achieving improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions

Prof. Prasanth Nair
Decision Analytics for Computational Engineering 

Research Focus

  1. Development of scalable algorithms for probabilistic data-driven and physics-based predictive modeling and robust optimization of complex systems 

Current Projects

  1. Ongoing projects include scalable Bayesian learning algorithms, robust optimization, numerical methods for stochastic partial differential equations, and low-rank tensor decomposition schemes for high-dimensional problems

Figure: Scalable machine learning algorithms for massive spatio-temporal datasets

Prof. Hugh Liu
Flight Systems and Control Lab

Research Focus

  1. To design innovative dynamics and control solutions to improve aerial systems performance
  2. To develop transformative flight technologies for better aviation

Current Projects

  1. Designing fault tolerant control techniques for flexible aircraft
  2. Designing a novel amphibian UAV for commercial and scientific missions, e.g. water assessment, wildfire monitoring
  3. Investigating formation flight of large number of UAVs 
  4. Studying swarming robotic drones in cooperative hunting

Image: A vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV in flight for biological science investigation

Prof. Peter Grant
Vehicle Simulation Lab

Research Focus

  1. Developing aircraft safety vehicle simulation to determine human motion perception at time of crisis
  2. Flight dynamics, flight simulation, the virtual flight test facility, and human control of vehicles

Current Projects

  1. Development of ground-based simulators for upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) in collaboration with the FAA
  2. The impact of structural flexibility on aircraft handling qualities and modeling of human motion perception and control

Image: The Flight Simulator Lab at UTIAS

Prof. Reza Emami
Aerospace Mechatronics Lab

Research Focus

  1. Development of systematic frameworks and architectures for concurrent, detail-level engineering of aerospace systems
  2. Robust learning mechanisms for autonomous, heterogeneous robot teams for ground and space missions
  3. Asteroid Engineering: discovery, characterization, exploration and prospecting of near-Earth asteroids

Current Projects

  1. Space systems miniaturization
  2. Space debris removal
  3. Asteroid redirection
  4. Satellite formation

Image: Aerospace Mechatronics Lab

Prof. Alis Ekmekci
Experimental Fluid Dynamics Lab

Research Focus

  1. Flow-induced noise and vibration, aeroacoustics, flow control, unsteady separated flows, vortex dynamics, and flow-structure interactions

Current Projects

  1. Collaborating with Bombardier on several projects related to aircraft noise and its mitigation, including aerodynamic and aeroacoustic investigations of landing gears, high lift devices, and resonating cavities experienced by exhaust ducts of various critical aircraft systems
  2. Collaborating with Safran Landing Gears on landing gear noise and its mitigation

Image: The water tunnel facility during a PIV test

Prof. Chris Damaren
Spacecraft Systems and Control 

Research Focus

  1. Dynamics and control of spacecraft including orbital, attitude and structural motions of these systems
  2. Control system design for large structurally flexible robot manipulator systems

Current Projects

  1. Developing control systems for Solar Sails that use solar radiation pressure as a source of propulsion
  2. Applying previous research on attitude control using torques produced by Earth’s magnetic fields to structurally flexible spacecraft

Figure: Solar Sail diagram showing control systems developments

Prof. James Davis
Fusion Energy Plasma Materials Interactions Lab

Research Focus

  1. Study of plasma-materials interactions with ITER-specific materials: carbon, tungsten and beryllium
  2. Candidate reactor materials are tested using plasma simulation facilities to study plasma-materials-interaction processes

Current Projects

  1. Studying (i) materials erosion, (ii) diffusion, trapping, and retention of hydrogen isotopes in carbon, tungsten, and mixed materials, (iii) the recovery of deuterium from layers of D-containing deposits formed in tokamaks

Image: Fusion Energy Group’s dual beam particle accelerator system

Prof. Robert Zee
Space Flight Lab: Nanosatellite and Microsatellite Missions

Research Focus

  1. The SFL pushes the envelope in its design and construction of some of the world’s most successful Nanosatellites and Microsatellites
  2. Research and development in disruptive space technologies

Current Projects

  1. Developing customizable separation systems called “XPODs”
  2. Lowering the entry barrier to space for companies, research institutions, government, and end users in order to enable more productive use of space for the next generation

Image: SFL’s collection of Microsatellites and Nanosatellites

Prof. Philippe Lavoie
Flow Control and Experimental Turbulence Lab

Research Focus

  1. Study of transitional and turbulent flows, including flow structures and instabilities associated with these phenomena
  2. Investigating the fundamental dynamics of attached and separated shear layers and how these can be manipulated to improve flow characteristics

Current Projects

  1. Collaboration with Bombardier to investigate different sources of airframe noise and how these can be mitigated
  2. Active control of turbulent boundary layers in order to reduce skin friction drag
  3. Study of unsteady aerodynamic effects due to gusts and sudden maneuvers for application to unmanned aerial vehicles

Image: UTIAS Wind Tunnel

Prof. Masayuki Yano
Aerospace Computational Engineering Lab

Research Focus

  1. Numerical methods, scientific computation, and numerical analysis for partial differential equations in continuum mechanics
  2. Improving reliability, efficiency, and autonomy of numerical simulations

Current Projects

  1. Development of error estimation and adaptation techniques for higher-fidelity simulations
  2. Development of model reduction techniques for many-query scenarios arising in parametric studies and uncertainty quantification
  3. Development of mathematical frameworks to combine experimental data and simulation

Figure: Adaptive high-order discontinuous Galerkin method applied to high-lift turbulent flows