The Autonomy Lab builds life-like machines. Our goal is to increase
the autonomy (i.e. self-control and self-maintenance) of robots and
There are two main reasons to study autonomous machines:
- Scientific: an autonomous machine is a concrete test of
hypotheses about mechanisms of intelligent behaviour. We come at this
from two directions: a bottom-up approach examining the necessary and
sufficient conditions for rational behavior; and a top-down approach
realizing and testing models of human and animal intelligence.
- Economic: by definition, autonomous machines can do more
work than those which require human supervision. Autonomous robots could make society more efficient by enabling new
kinds of industry, science and exploration.
The aquisition and management of resources such as energy and space
is a fundamental, unavoidable task for all living things. From an
ecological perspective, intelligent behaviour can be seen as rational
manipulation of resources. This observation underlies our approach to
building autonomous systems.
Our research interests include:
The Lab is directed by Richard Vaughan. Our computer systems are managed by Mani Monajjemi.
- Highly autonomous, long-lived robots
- Robot and animal foraging behaviour
- Large-population multi-robot systems and mitigating spatial interference
- Minimalist, micro and very low-power robots
- Biologically-inspired robots
- Artificial life
- Robot simulation, programming and research tools
- 2015.1.1: Richard Vaughan was elected to the managing committee of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.
- 2014.9.1: Welcome new grad students Lingkang Zhang, Jacob Perron and Jack Thomas. Find them via the people page.
- 2013.11.15: Richard Vaughan will be the program chair of IROS 2017 in Vancouver. Hong Zhang is the General Chair.
- 2013.11.11: Two of our papers were nominated for prizes at IROS 2013, with Mani Monajjemi's paper "HRI in the sky: Creating and commanding teams of uavs with a vision-mediated gestural interface." winning the "Japan Toy Culture Foundation Novel Technology Paper Award for Amusement Culture" category, and Shokofeh Pourmehr nomimated in the "New Technology Foundation Award for Entertainment Robots and Systems" category. See both papers on our publications page.
- 2013.5.31: Jens Wawerla will be joining us as a University
Research Associate from 1 July 2013. Jens will do basic and applied
research on UAVs and long-term autonomy. Thanks to BGC Engineering and
NCFRN for funding to make this possible.
- 2013.2.25: We are proud to be part of the NSERC Canadian Field Robotics Network, a partnership between many excellent researchers and companies, led by Greg Dudek of McGill. We meet every spring somewhere in Canada for a week-long field trial.