Lassonde Professor opens new lab focused on Autonomous systems research

Jinjun Shan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Earth & Space Science at the Lassonde School of Engineering, is among one of the researchers across Canada to earn a prestigious Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grant and Ontario Research Fund grant to pursue groundbreaking research that focuses on autonomous systems.

Injun Jordan Abel

                Jinjun Shan

Shan is the principal investigator on this research project with Costas Armenakis, associate professor of geomatics engineering at Lassonde, serving as co-investigator.

With this grant, Shan has opened a lab facility in the Petrie Building at the Keele Campus, which is the first of its kind at York University, to serve as a critical platform for emerging research on co-operative control of multi-agent systems. The facility is geared to be an experimental platform for collaboration between academia and industry. It will bring more revenue to the Canadian autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUV) industry. This in turn will create more job opportunities for Canadians in addition to providing additional study opportunities for students.

“With this infrastructure, we can advance key technologies in cooperative control of multi-agent systems, particularly in navigation and control system design,” said Shan. “This advancement is made possible only through this world-class infrastructure, since it will provide a unique way to validate the effectiveness of the developed technologies.”

          Costas Armenakis

AUVs have a growing number of potential applications for Canada in civilian, military and security areas. For example, defence patrol duties, agricultural activities, forest fire monitoring and control, grid monitoring, border control, search, surveillance and rescue. Canada’s large uninhabited land, large forest are, and longest international border in the world can also greatly benefit from AUVs.

“This lab will serve as the foundation for the application-oriented research we are planning to undertake, which includes high-resolution, real-time navigation and collaborative mobile mapping,” said Shan.

The CFI funding supports the world-class infrastructure to be built to enable research on autonomous systems, unmanned vehicles, artificial intelligence and more. It builds a unique facility in the Canadian university environment that will serve as a critical platform for emerging research on co-operative control of autonomous systems and their applications, including remote sensing and mapping.

“There are similar labs at other Canadian universities, though these institutions lack the required combination of autonomous vehicles and available test-beds for candidates to carry out the research programs effectively,” explained Shan.

To learn more, see the Aug. 16, 2017 YFile story.