2022 G.N. Patterson Award and Lecture

In honour of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies’ (UTIAS) founder and director, Professor Gordon Patterson, the annual G. N. Patterson Lecture was established. On this occasion, the G. N. Patterson Award is presented to a recently completed doctoral student in recognition of outstanding academic achievement in the Ph.D. Program.

In recognition of her research in the Autonomous Space Robotics Lab, Mona Gridseth received the G. N. Patterson Award on November 30, 2022. Her thesis focused on the problem outdoor mobile robots face while operating in environments where satellite positioning is unavailable or unreliable.

Gridseth was able to show that deep learning visual landmarks generalizes localization across a much wider array of lighting and weather conditions than traditional methods allowing; for example, mapping under daylight and repeating at night with headlights on. This is essential for many applications of mobile robots including transportation, security, mining, forestry, and agriculture.

Preceding the award ceremony, Dr. Cameron Dickinson from MDA delivered the G. N. P. Lecture, speaking about the design and development of scientific instruments used to explore asteroids. The same technology that Gridseth is using, which is 3D scanning LIDAR, is being used for the OSIRIS REx mission to collect samples of the asteroid Bennu (101955).

Dickinson is the technical lead for the OSIRIS Laser Altimeter, which reached Bennu in fall of 2018, and will return a sample in 2023.