Space Robotics Group

University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies



Professor Gabriele M.T. D'Eleuterio
The primary interest of our group is multiagent systems. We have worked on a swarm of robots working cooperatively to accomplish a common goal such as autonomous excavation, developing robotic control strategies based on neural networks that mimic the brain, developing flying robots that could one day explore Mars, and striving to understand better the dynamics of evolution. In this way, not only do we hope these techniques to have a greater impact on the artificial world of robotics but perhaps we can also give back to the field of biology. It is our Group's mission to foster robotic life.



Dr. Paul Grouchy
I am working on using evolutionary algorithms (EAs) to evolve systems of ODEs for robotic control. It is hoped that controllers demonstrating development, learning and strong generalization capabilities can be produced in this manner.


Current Students:

David Beach PhD Candidate
I am interested in the application of information-theoretic approaches to the characterization of interacting systems in general and evolutionary systems in particular. My current research involves investigating mutual information in simple evolutionary models with the objective of providing bulk metrics for the description of evolutionary dynamics. I'm also interested in the creation of novel development-based evolutionary algorithms.


Adam Sniderman (with Mireille E. Broucke) PhD Candidate

Consider a murmuration of starlings. Here, each bird knows only what it can see around itself but, nevertheless, these local behaviours bring about a collective action; even without a leader directing each individual, the group still acts as a single cohesive unit. I am interested in applying this behaviour to control systems – that is, investigating how decentralized control laws can result in collective group behaviour, even without any sort of "global" information. My ultimate objective is to derive conditions for reaching consensus in a dynamical system.


Peter Szabo PhD Candidate
My current research looks into the recreation of the flight mechanisms of dragonflies. The idea is to have as much progress towards creating a dragonfly sized microaerial vehicle (MAV) that mimics the way real dragonflies take flight - which is the main goal. This is being done by using observations, measurements, and simulations of the kinematics and dynamics of dragonfly flight combined with the properties of advanced materials and new fabrication techniques.


Zain Syed Ahmed MASc Candidate
My goal is to develop a set of analytical equations describing the aerodynamic force and torque on a robotic dragonfly in its nominal flight maneuvers. The purpose of these equations is to formulate a plant model for the controller design of the group's Dragonfly Microaerial Vehicle. The equations should be simple enough for the resulting control law to be implemented using a small microcontroller aboard the micro aerial vehicle, but they should be precise enough to capture the important unsteady effects inherent to flapping flight at the insect scale.


Allen Chee MASc Candidate


Vidya Menon (with Manfredi Maggiore) MASc Candidate
My current research involves developing a plant model and a controller for Space Robotics Dragonfly MAV. Dragonflies are among nature's best fliers as they have hovering capabilities and are extremely manoeuvrable, characteristics which are highly desirable in insect sized MAVs. The first step into developing these characteristics for an MAV is to design a controller that regulates attitude in the hovering configuration. To design this controller, I intend to take cues from control mechanisms observed in dragonflies in nature as well nonlinear control techniques.


Former Students:

Recent PhD Graduates

Prof. Timothy D. Barfoot (Associate Professor, UTIAS: Autonomous Space Robotics Lab)

Prof. Christopher J. Damaren (Professor, UTIAS: Spacecraft Dynamics and Control Group)

Dr. Ernest J. P. Earon

Dr. Paul Grouchy

Dr. Alan Morris

Dr. Christian Sallaberger

Prof. Inna Sharf (Associate Professor, McGill University: Aerospace Mechatronics Lab)

Prof. Jekanthan Thangavelautham (Assistant Professor, Arizona State University: School of Earth and Space Exploration)

Dr. Adam P. Trischler


Recent MASc Graduates

Nader Abu El Samid

Cathy Cheung

Terence Fu

Christopher Langley

Mustafa Mirza

Anton Rubisov

Kris Skonieczny

Michel-Alexandre Cardin

Francis Frenzel

Jonathan Gammell

Kenneth Law

Nagina Nagrani

Carolyn Schurek



Recent Exchange Students

Emmanuel Bassy (Studienarbeit, Weingarten, Germany)

Sylvain Beigneux (Institut Français de Mécanique Avancée, France)

Toshihiko Inoue (Osaka University, Narashino, Japan)

Nikolas Trawny (Studienarbeit, Stuttgart, Germany)

Li Zhou (Chiba Institute of Technology, Suita, Japan)


Recent Undergraduate and Summer Students

Zain Syed Ahmed

Jai Bansal

Kristen Facciol

Tommy Liu

Vidya Menon

Difu Shi

Heather Armstrong

Susanna Choi

Terence Fu

Allison McPhail

Ali Punjani

Behrad Vatankhahghadim