Welcome to the homepage of the Intelligent Control and Estimation (ICE) Laboratory in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Guelph. The Principal Investigator (PI) of the ICE Lab is Dr. S. Andrew Gadsden, who is currently an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. Gadsden’s research background and expertise includes a broad consideration of intelligent mechatronic systems, state and parameter estimation strategies, control theory, fault detection and diagnosis, artificial intelligence, and cognitive systems. Intelligent mechatronic systems are found everywhere in our increasingly automated and interconnected world—from smart homes to self-driving vehicles. As a modern engineering discipline, Mechatronics is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating elements from mechanical, electrical, computer, software, and biomedical engineering. Artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques lie at the center of much mechatronics research. In Canada, research and development in intelligent mechatronic systems have grown significantly in the last decade and offer positive impacts on our society, ranging from biomedical applications to space exploration.

Gadsden and his research team are targeting the development of new control methods for intelligent mechatronic systems that enable robustness to disturbances and uncertainties while providing accurate and stable system control. They are creating and testing novel estimation strategies that improve performance in the presence of system and measurement nonlinearities. Furthermore, Gadsden and his team are developing autonomy in cognitive systems; at the core of which is artificial intelligence. The impact of Gadsden’s research is practical and theoretical. His interdisciplinary work incorporates collaborations in a wide range of industries and institutions.

One of Gadsden’s first industrial collaborators at the University of Guelph was Virox Technologies, Oakville, Ontario. The project was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). Virox researches, develops, and manufactures active hydrogen peroxide formulations and wipes that are used to disinfect surfaces and medical equipment. Virox has recently been in the news due to their efforts in controlling the spread of COVID-19. Gadsden and his research team are partnered with Virox to develop a system that utilizes chemical data, experimental results, and artificial intelligence to predict novel chemical formulations with the goal of reducing new formulation development time from upwards of three years to less than three months. Faster development time will have a huge impact on the safety of Canadians as we navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other future health challenges.

Shifting gears to the area of aerospace and earth sciences, Gadsden is the co-PI of an international collaboration funded by NASA. His research team has partnered with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Maryland), University of Maryland (Baltimore County), US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), US Geological Survey (USGS), and Hawk Aerospace (USA). Together with his collaborators, Gadsden aims to make SI-traceable measurements of lunar spectral irradiance (moonlight) at visible to near-infrared wavelengths with unprecedented accuracy. Scientists will be able to use the Moon as a calibration source for Earth-observing satellites, such as those used to develop climate change models. Measurements are made above 90% of the Earth’s atmosphere from one of NASA’s ER-2 aircraft, a civilian descendant of the U-2 spy plane. Situated in a large ER-2 wing pod, a custom-built telescope and spectrometer views the Moon through the pod’s zenith view port. Gadsden and his research team were tasked with designing, building, programming, and implementing an autonomous robotic telescope mount which kept the telescope fixed on the Moon during flight with an accuracy of about 0.1 degrees.

Another example of Gadsden’s diverse and collaborative research is his partnership with Adastra Corporation, Markham, Ontario. The goal of his NSERC research partnership is to develop and apply novel artificial intelligence and estimation techniques to object detection strategies in machine vision problems (e.g., for use in tracking people); strategies to detect false or anomalous data (e.g., fraud detection in banking); and condition monitoring strategies (e.g., for use in manufacturing or health). Gadsden has also partnered with Adastra as a co-PI on an NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grant, which aims to develop epidemiological models for tracking and predicting the spread of COVID-19 in Canadian communities. Preliminary research results have led to significant media coverage with project-related articles published in CBC News, Global News, Guelph Mercury Tribune, and the Toronto Star. Gadsden was interviewed on the radio with his Adastra colleague to discuss the preliminary findings and possible future outcomes (AM900 CHML and AM980 CFPL).

Please browse our laboratory website and contact us if you have any questions or comments.