Professor Angela Schoellig (UTIAS) has earned an Arthur B. McDonald Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
The award will further accelerate Schoellig’s leading-edge research into autonomous robotics for a variety of applications, from environmental monitoring to visual inspection of construction sites.
“Today, most robots operate in carefully controlled environments, or else they require an operator or pilot, which limits the ways they can be used,” says Schoellig.
“In my lab, we are making use of artificial intelligence and advanced control algorithms to enable robots to learn from experience, adapt to changing circumstances and teach themselves the best ways to complete complex tasks. This ability will unlock their potential to be used in uncontrolled environments, and to do things that robots currently cannot.”
In the future, self-guided drones powered by algorithms developed by Schoellig and her team could run regular inspection flights over construction sites, mines or other installations. The monitoring data they provide could help reduce environment impacts, improve safety, and increase productivity. In case of bad weather or other hazards, the drones could fly themselves safely back to base.