Media Releases

Air, land and water robots to be featured during NCFRN field trials at UTIAS/York U

April 18, 2013

TORONTO, ON – The NSERC Cana­di­an Field Robot­ics Net­work (NCFRN) will be host­ing a robot­ics field tri­als media day on Mon­day, April 22 at York Uni­ver­si­ty and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Insti­tute for Aero­space Stud­ies (UTIAS).

NCFRN, a net­work span­ning eight uni­ver­si­ties and 14 part­ner orga­ni­za­tions, brings togeth­er aca­d­e­m­ic, gov­ern­ment and indus­tri­al researchers in the area of field robot­ics to devel­op the sci­ence and tech­nolo­gies that will allow teams of robots to work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly in out­door envi­ron­ments, com­mu­ni­cat­ing crit­i­cal infor­ma­tion to the humans who oper­ate or use them.

The upcom­ing field tri­als will help test a diverse range of robot­ics tech­nolo­gies, with appli­ca­tions rang­ing from envi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing around Canada’s exten­sive coast­lines – includ­ing in the far North, where harsh con­di­tions make human research com­pli­cat­ed and cost­ly – to min­ing and resource iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, plan­e­tary explo­ration, pipeline mon­i­tor­ing, bor­der sur­veil­lance, search and res­cue, and even deal­ing with envi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ters such as nuclear acci­dents.

“These orga­ni­za­tions, and the spe­cif­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tives, con­sti­tute the cream of the crop in terms of Cana­di­an researchers and devel­op­ers doing out­door robot­ics,” says NCFRN sci­en­tif­ic direc­tor Gre­go­ry Dudek. “The vehi­cles they will be using at the field tri­als span ones that walk, fly and swim, and the sci­en­tif­ic and tech­ni­cal lead­er­ship will be among the best in the world.”

Sched­ule of events:

York Uni­ver­si­ty

10:30am-12:30pm Stong Pond and west side of Keele cam­pus (see map)

Sev­er­al robots will be demoed at this time, includ­ing:

Eddy: Eddy and the Min­nows are a col­lec­tive fleet of autonomous sur­face robots that are being used to devel­op hard­ware and algo­rithms suit­able for pro­vid­ing sen­sor cov­er­age of a body of water. Imag­ine try­ing to mon­i­tor an event such as pol­lu­tion on a water body. Rather than send­ing a sin­gle robot to deal with the prob­lem, it can be more effi­cient and cost effec­tive to deploy a fleet. This work seeks to address tech­ni­cal prob­lems relat­ed to this type of imple­men­ta­tion.

Griz­zly: Imag­ine try­ing to main­tain a geo­graph­i­cal­ly exten­sive infra­struc­ture (pipeline, hydro cor­ri­dor, etc.). How can we build robot­ic sys­tems that can mon­i­tor over such large areas? Griz­zly is a large robot that is being out­fit­ted in order to per­form such tasks.


1pm-3pm – Mars­Dome, UTIAS (see map)

The NCFRN field tri­als at UTIAS will involve a small plan­e­tary explo­ration sce­nario. Par­tic­i­pants will use their robots to search for a col­lec­tion of rocks hid­den in the Mars­Dome, which con­tains a mock plan­e­tary land­scape. They must seek out the rocks, image them and return to their start­ing loca­tions. The Lunar Explo­ration Light Rover, built by MDA for the Cana­di­an Space Agency (CSA), and one of the CSA’s Juno research robots will be two celebri­ty robots attempt­ing the chal­lenge. Click here to see the robots in action.


 For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Robin Heron, Media Rela­tions, York Uni­ver­si­ty, 416–736-2100 x22097 /

Ter­ry Laven­der, Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence & Engi­neer­ing, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, 416–978-4498 /