Invited speakers and participants

International 

Rainer Bischoff Rainer Bischoff

Rainer Bischoff is Head of KUKA’s Corporate Research department responsible for research and technology development preceding product development. Dr. Bischoff received his „Doktor-Ingenieur“ degree from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology for his contributions towards the development of personal robots. He serves as Vice-President Industry of euRobotics AISBL – the European Robotics Association he helped to create to unite European roboticists.

 

Peter Corke Peter Corke

Peter Corke is a professor of robotic vision at Queensland University of Technology, and director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision. His research is concerned with enabling robots to see, and the application of robots to mining, agriculture and environmental monitoring. He is a fellow of the IEEE, former editor-in-chief of the IEEE Robotics & Automation magazine, founding and associate editor of the Journal of Field Robotics, founding multi-media editor and editorial board member of the International Journal of Robotics Research, member of the editorial advisory board of the Springer Tracts on Advanced Robotics series, recipient of the Qantas/Rolls-Royce and Australian Engineering Excellence awards, and has held visiting positions at Oxford, University of Illinois, Carnegie-Mellon University and University of Pennsylvania.  He received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and PhD from the University of Melbourne.

 

Dario Floreano Dario Floreano
Dario Floreano is director of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). He is also founding director of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Robotics, which sponsors almost 60 researchers in wearable, mobile, and educational robots from 20 robotics labs across Switzerland. Prof. Floreano holds an M.A. in visual psychophysics, an M.S. in Neural Computation, and a PhD in Robotics. He held research positions at Sony Computer Science Laboratory, at Caltech/JPL, and at Harvard University. He is interested in robotics and A.I. at the convergence of biology and engineering. His research activities include aerial robotics, soft robotics, wearable robotics, and evolutionary robotics. He published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles, 4 books on Artificial Neural Networks, Evolutionary Robotics, Bio-inspired Artificial Intelligence, and Bio-inspired Flying Robots with MIT Press and Springer Verlag. He is on the Advisory Board of Future and Emergent Technologies of the European Commission, has been a founding member of the World Economic Forum Council on robotics and smart devices, co-founder of the International Society of Artificial Life, Inc., and executive board member of the International Society for Neural Networks. He spun off two successful companies in drones (senseFly and Flyability).
Sue Keay

A research scientist with highly developed business skills, Sue runs the world’s first robotic vision research centre. The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is an ARC Centre of Excellence with more than 100 researchers distributed across Australian and overseas research institutions.

With a PhD in Earth Sciences, Sue escaped the lab to move into research management and commercialisation where she has demonstrated national leadership, directing and ensuring impact from multidisciplinary R&D programs spanning engineering, physical and social sciences.

Sue recently developed a successful $1.5m R&D project supported by the Queensland government to explore the vision capabilities of Softbank’s social robot, Pepper. She is completing her MBA with UQ Business School, including a successful consulting project with Wharton Business School (UPenn). A Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, she serves on the Board of the CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction.

Passionate about the development of the robotics and computer vision industries in Australia, Sue believes a roadmap to demonstrate existing capability and future possibilities is required for Australia to take advantage of these disruptive technologies.

 

Raj Madhavan Raj Madhavan

Raj Madhavan is an internationally recognized expert in humanitarian robotics and automation technologies. He is the CEO of Humanitarian Robotics Technologies focusing on applied technology consulting, training, and research. He has held appointments with two US Govt. agencies (ORNL, NIST) and two Universities as a faculty member (UMD-CP, Amrita). He received a Ph.D. in Field Robotics from the University of Sydney, and an ME (Research) in Systems Engineering from the Australian National University. Over the last 22 years, he has published 200+ papers in archival journals, conferences, and magazines and has co-edited two books and four journal special issues. He has given numerous plenary and keynote presentations across the globe, has served on several editorial boards, program and organization committees, and national/international panels and review boards. He is the 2016 recipient of the RAS Distinguished Service Award for his “distinguished service and contributions to RAS industrial and humanitarian activities”.

 

AJung Moon

AJung Moon is a Founder and Director of Open Roboethics Institute (ORi), an internationally renowned think tank that has been spearheading active discussions of ethical, legal, and societal issues of robotics and intelligent machines since 2012. She was a Vanier Scholar at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a thought leader in roboethics and human-robot interaction (HRI). As a mechatronics engineer with over 8 years of research experience in robotics, robot ethics and HRI, she has been heavily involved in the shaping of global standards and policy that pertain to artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. She is an Executive Committee Member of the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems. She serves as a panelist on the International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapon Systems, and has presented at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Meeting of the States Parties on the global public sentiment on lethal autonomous weapon systems.

 




Alexander Shikany

Alex Shikany is the Director of Market Analysis for the Association for Advancing Automation (A3 – RIA, AIA, MCMA). In his position, he researches and reports statistics for the global robotics, machine vision, and motion control markets. Alex also develops market opportunity studies and white papers for the automation industry on key issues such as the impact of robots on employment, and the emergence of collaborative robotics. In addition to his research, Alex runs the day to day operations of AIA, the world’s largest vision and imaging trade group. He is also a frequent speaker at industry events around the world. Alex is a graduate of Michigan State University’s Broad MBA program, where he majored in Marketing and Finance. He also received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from MSU. Alex has eight years of experience in Marketing, Brand Strategy, and Market Research.


Canadian Speakers & Participating Stakeholder Representatives

Ryan Gariepy
Clearpath Robotics
Ryan Gariepy

Ryan is the CTO of Clearpath. He drives the development of the OTTO industrial self driving vehicles while guiding the continued expansion of Clearpath’s world-leading efforts in supporting robotics researchers.  He is also a co-founder of the Robot Operating System developers’ conference, a member of a variety of industrial and academic steering committees, and is on the Board of Directors for the Open Source Robotics Foundation. He completed a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Waterloo, and has over a dozen pending patents in the field of intelligent systems.

Serge Montambault
Serge Montambault

Dr. Serge Montambault is the Manager – Expertise in Inspection and Maintenance Robotics at Hydro Quebec’s research institute – IREQ. He also heads MIR Innovation, a new Hydro-Québec subsidiary that commercializes innovative solutions for smart asset management in electric power generation, transmission and distribution. Working closely with major players in the global power industry, he and his team have implemented, deployed, and commercialized robotic technologies around the world. Dr. Montambault sits on many national and international scientific committees and working groups and has authored numerous publications and patent applications. His team received the 2010 Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute as well as a 2012 IET Innovation Award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

 

Robotiq Samuel Bouchard

Samuel Bouchard is President of Robotiq, a company that he co-founded in 2008, which makes industrial robotic hands and sensors. He is a serial entrepreneur and holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Laval University, in Canada.

Canadian Space Agency Erick Dupuis

Erick Dupuis is the Director of Space Exploration Development at the Canadian Space Agency. His directorate is in charge of all planetary exploration and space astronomy missions of the CSA. Having joined the CSA in 1992, he has occupied a variety of positions including research engineer in robotics, lead systems engineer for the SPDM Task Verification Facility, manager of robotics, manager of technology planning, as well as acting director of scientific and academic development. In 2001 and 2002, he was a member of the Jet Propulsion Lab’s Mars Program Systems Engineering Team (MPSET). In 2010-2011, he was appointed as a European member of the NASA/ESA Joint Mars Exploration Program Analysis and Review Team. From 1999 to 2010, he has been the Canadian representative on the International Advanced Robotics Programme. From 2006 to 2008, he was a reviewer of the European Robotics Network (EURON) for the European Commission. In addition, he has been a contributor to the Strategic Research Agenda issued by the European Technology Platform (EUROP) through his contribution to its Space Robotics Working Group.

 

Gregory Dudek
NSERC Canadian Field Robotics Network (NCFRN)
Gregory Dudek

Gregory Dudek is a Professor with the School of Computer Science, a member of the McGill Research Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM), and an Associate member of the Dept. of Electrical Engineering at McGill University where he directs the McGill Mobile Robotics Laboratory.

Since 2012 he has been the Scientific Director of the NSERC Canadian Field Robotics Network (NCFRN), a Federally funded Strategic Research network that brings together academic, government, and industrial researchers in the area of field robotics to develop the science and technologies to eventually allow teams of heterogeneous robots (on land, in the air, on the surface of or under water) to work collaboratively in outdoor environments, and to communicate critical information to humans who operate them or use them.

The NCFRN provides the national framework for 11 researchers from 8 renowned Canadian universities as well as 10 industrial partners and 3 government agencies to combine their skills and expertise. The network addresses basic questions in robotics science, and the technologies developed by the NCFRN aim to address Canadian problems such as our monitoring and maintaining the state of our environmental heritage, patrolling borders (e.g. in the Arctic), dealing with environmental disasters (e.g. oil spills and nuclear accidents), or improving the quality of life of senior citizens.

Goldie Nejat
University of Toronto
Goldie Nejat

Goldie Nejat, PhD, P.Eng. is the Canada Research Chair in Robots for Society and the Director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics (IRM) at the University of Toronto. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and the Founder and Director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Laboratory. She is also an Adjunct Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.  Prof. Nejat’s research focuses on developing intelligent service robots for applications in health, elderly care, emergency response, search and rescue, security and surveillance, and manufacturing. Her research is leading the development of intelligent assistive robotic aids that can meet the challenges posed by an aging population. Her interactive robots, including Brian, Casper and Tangy, are being designed to provide cognitive and social interventions, help with activities of daily living, and lead group recreational activities to improve the quality of life of older adults. Prof. Nejat and her team collaborate with healthcare experts and a number of healthcare facilities in order to develop these unique social robots so that they can be effectively integrated into people’s everyday lives.

Steven L. WaslanderWAVE Lab

 

Steve Waslander

Steve Waslander is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He received his B.Sc.E.in 1998 from Queen’s University, his M.S. in 2002 and his Ph.D. in 2007, both from Stanford University in Aeronautics and Astronautics.

He is the Director of the Waterloo Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory (WAVELab). His research interests are in the areas of autonomous aerial and ground vehicles, simultaneous localization and mapping, nonlinear estimation and control, and multi-vehicle systems.

Dr. Farzad RayeganiHumber School of Applied Technology Farzad Rayegani

Dr. Farzad Rayegani is the Dean of Applied Technology at Humber College. He has wealth of experience in the fields of teaching, research, innovation and development. He has authored and co-authored numerous publications and has extensive experience consulting with industry. His career in higher education spans over 20 years and includes time as a faculty member, researcher, manager, director and associate dean. He holds a Master of Science in Engineering and a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering Systems from the University of Miskolc in Hungary.

Dr. Rayegani is credited with developing an applied research program involving students, graduates and faculty mentors to address technological and educational need of Halton and Peel regions (Ontario). Over the past 15 years, he has been simultaneously partnering with SME enterprises on robotics and automation innovation projects while developing an applied research program. Dr. Rayegani has been developing new curriculum structure based on a new philosophy for engineering education, the framework educates students to Conceive, Design, Implement and Operate complex, value-added engineering products, processes and systems in a modern, team-based, global environment. Rich in project-based, hands-on learning, he aims to produce engineers who are ‘ready to engineer’ when they graduate. Over the span of his career Farzad has also taken on leadership roles within a number of professional associations and organization, and has been the recipient of numerous leadership awards. Dr. Rayegani is designated an Engineers Canada Fellow by Engineers Canada. This prestigious award is presented in recognition of exceptional contributions to the engineering profession in Canada.

Tim Reedman

MDA

Tim Reedman

Tim Reedman is the Director, Commercial Systems at MDA Robotics and Automation based in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. MDA’s robotics business has two product lines: Space Robotics and Commercial Systems. Tim is responsible for MDA’s Commercial Systems product line which includes medical robotics, nuclear robotics and automation, advanced manufacturing and other new applications.

Tim has been with MDA for over thirty years, holding a variety of senior positions in engineering and management. He has extensive experience in both space and non-space engineering projects, and has been the technical authority on many multi-year, multi-million dollar projects ranging from elements of the International Space Station to animatronic dinosaurs for the entertainment industry. He has led the company’s R&D group and the Operations group, and is currently the business leader for the Commercial Systems product line with responsibility for both business development and project execution.

Tim has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree and a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Toronto.

Tom Murad
Siemens
Tom Murad

Dr. Tom Murad is the Head of the Siemens Canada Engineering and Technology Academy, established in October 2014. Tom has more than 35 years of Professional Engineering and Technical Operations Executive Management including more than 10 years of Academic and R&D work in Industrial Controls and Automation. Previous to his current role, Tom was Head of the Expert House and Engineering Director for Siemens Canada’s Industry sector since 2010. Prior to joining Siemens, Tom was the Senior VP and COO of AZZ- Blenkhorn & Sawle. He previously held various VP and Director positions with numerous international organizations and contributed to many global Industrial projects. Tom earned a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronics), and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Power Electronics and Industrial Controls from the Loughborough University of Technology in the UK. He also received a Leadership Program Certificate from Schulich Business School, York University in Ontario, Canada.

 

Jack Collier

 

Jack Collier

Jack Collier is a Defence Scientist and Group Head for the Autonomous Systems Operations Ground Group at Defence R&D Canada Suffield Research Centre.

Since 2002, Mr. Collier’s research has focused on perception and mapping for unmanned vehicles. He examines how such technologies can be integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces to improve capability. Mr. Collier currently serves on the Board of Directors for the NSERC Canadian Field Robotics Network and is actively involved in several efforts to build a cohesive robotics
strategy for the Canadian Armed Forces. Mr. Collier holds a B.ASc in Electronic Systems Engineering from the University of Regina and a MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calgary.

 

Suzanne Gildert

Suzanne is co-founder and CSO of Kindred AI. She oversees the design and engineering of the company’s human-like robots and is responsible for the development of AGI cognitive architectures that allow these robots to learn about themselves and their environments. Before founding Kindred, Suzanne worked as a physicist at D-Wave, designing and building superconducting quantum processors, and as a researcher in quantum artificial intelligence software applications. Suzanne has a Ph.D. in experimental physics, and likes science outreach, retro tech art, coffee, cats, electronic music and extreme lifelogging.

 

Angelica Lim
SoftBank Robotics
Angelica Lim

Angelica is a lead roboticist at SoftBank Robotics, the world’s largest humanoid robotics company, with over 20,000 humanoid robots currently deployed in homes, stores, and research labs in over 60 countries. She has been fascinated by robots ever since she watched Rosie the Robot on the Jetsons. Today, she programs robots to be fun, interactive and empathetic. She believes in bringing back the humanity to our technology, in a world increasingly taken over by screens.

She has developed software for autonomous robots for over a decade in Japan, Canada and France, and is an expert in signal processing and artificial intelligence, specifically in the realm of emotions and developmental robotics — robots that learn like children. A native of Vancouver, BC, she holds a Ph.D. and Master’s in AI from Kyoto University in Japan, and a B.Sc. in Computing Science from Simon Fraser University.

Paul Johnson Paul Johnson

Paul Johnston is an independent consultant specializing in scientific research and technological development, from policy and program development to evaluation. From 2008 through 2015, he was also Senior Associate with HAL. Prior to joining HAL, Paul was President of Precarn Incorporated, an organization that funded and promoted collaborative research and development in the field of robotics and intelligent systems. Previously, Mr. Johnston held the position of Vice President, Operations from 2000 and before that he was the founding Network Manager for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, a university-based research network working in the same fields. Prior to joining Precarn in 1990, Mr. Johnston was the Director of Planning and Coordination with the Canadian Space Agency and with the Space Policy Sector of the Department of Industry, Science and Technology, where his responsibilities included policy and drafting advice respecting the legislation creating the Space Agency, negotiations for the Space Station agreements and the RADARSAT Program, and long-term space program planning. Mr. Johnston was trained as a lawyer (Called to the Bar in Ontario in 1985) and as an engineer (BASc, 1971, University of Toronto), with a specialty in Aerospace Engineering.

 

Denis Cormier

Denis Cormier

Denis is a research manager with the Forest Operations division of FPInnovations, a not-for-profit world leader that specializes in the creation of innovative scientific solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness and responds to the priority needs of its industry members and government partners. FPInnovations is ideally positioned to perform state-of-the-art research, develop advanced technologies, and deliver innovative solutions to complex problems for every area of the sector’s value chain, from forest operations to consumer and industrial products. Its R&D laboratories are located in Québec City, Ottawa, Montréal, Thunder Bay, Hinton and Vancouver, and it has technology transfer offices across Canada.

Denis is a forest engineer with a master degree in forestry (silviculture) from Laval University (1987). He has worked in the forest operations division of FPInnovations for 29 years, specializing in silvicultural and biomass operations and the development of decision-support tools for the Canadian forest industry. Since 2013, he is also responsible for establishing a new field of research related to unmanned aerial system applications for forest operations. In 2016, he was appointed research manager for FPI Supply Chain Analytics program which includes the Remote Sensing and the Modeling and Decision Support groups.

 

Pamela Giberson
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Pamela Giberson

Pamela Giberson is a Research and Innovation Development Officer at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and has been with the NSERC Pacific regional office in Vancouver since it opened in 2006. Her primary role at NSERC is to improve stakeholder awareness of NSERC’s Research Partnership grants and facilitate research collaborations between companies and academics.

Prior to joining NSERC Pam worked for a decade in the biotechnology sector in Vancouver in a variety of roles, including corporate development at a drug discovery company that was spun out of UBC (Kinetek Pharmaceuticals), as a co-founder of a biotech company (SignalChem Pharmaceuticals), and as a consultant to the local biotech sector.

Pam obtained her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of BC and her PhD in Toxicology from the University of Saskatchewan. She followed her PhD with postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia.

 

Mitacs Sherry Zhao

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 15 years. Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, we build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.

Mitacs was founded in 1999 as a Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence, dedicated to supporting applied and industrial research in mathematical sciences and associated disciplines. In 2003, we launched a research internship program designed to increase deployment of highly educated graduates into the private sector. Open to all disciplines since 2007, Mitacs has expanded in response to industrial and university needs, including programs in R&D management, professional skills development, and international research training. Fully independent since 2011, Mitacs remains committed to its core vision of supporting research-based innovation and continues to work closely with its partners in industry, academia, and government.

 

Mark ProudfootCreative Destruction Lab Mark Proudfoot

Mark Proudfoot is Director of the Creative Destruction Lab – West. Prior to joining the Lab, he founded and operated a successful e-commerce venture, held a senior management role in a Fintech startup, and obtained an MBA from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. Mark has a background in management consulting and specializes in building, operating, and advising early stage companies.

 

Stella Jiang
Government of Ontario Logo
Stella Jiang

Stella Jiang is a Senior Advisor in the Disruptive Technologies Unit from the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG)/Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS), Ontario Government. Her files cover Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology, Advanced Robotics, and 3D Printing. Stella finished her Master’s study at the Munk School of Global Affairs at University of Toronto where she specialized in innovation policy and economic development. She has a great interest in learning concepts and implementation of new technologies in industries. Prior to joining the government, she worked on projects including IoT and the insurance industry in Ontario with MEDG, and e-commerce opportunities for Canadian exporters with Export Development Canada.

 


Alfred Lam

Alfred is Vice President of Chrysalix Venture Capital, a Vancouver-based technology venture capital company; Chrysalix’s RoboValley Fund invests in robotics and automation companies.

Alfred joined Chrysalix in 2012 with more than 10 years R&D experience. He is a technology innovator with three patents/applications, 10+ peer-reviewed journal publications and an entrepreneur having co-founded Mangrove Technologies, a spin-out from the University of British Columbia. Alfred has held a number of Board positions and is actively involved with Chrysalix investments in Axine Water Technologies, General Fusion and Primus Power. Additionally, he is active in the start-up ecosystem as an Angel investor and a volunteer mentor/advisor for OregonBest, New Ventures BC, CSIRO ON Accelerator and the Elemental Excelerator.

At Chrysalix, Alfred is responsible for investment thesis development, deal sourcing, due diligence, and portfolio and fund management. His current investment focus is in intelligent systems and automation platforms for the energy and resource sectors.

Alfred has a PhD in Chemical & Biological Engineering from the University of British Columbia and a BASc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.