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Success Stories - UWO Student Travels to an IEEE CDC Conference in Shanghai

IEEE Canada VT Travel Grant Report by Andrew Roberts, University of Western Ontario
I was extremely pleased to hear that I was the recipient of an IEEE-Canada Vehicular Technologies Travel Grant in December, 2009. This travel grant was of great assistance to me due to the high cost of travelling to the conference, which took place in Shanghai.

In March of 2009, I submitted a paper to be considered for publication in the proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC). Being fortunate enough to be accepted, I was now encouraged to travel to Shanghai, China to present the paper. Due to the location of the conference the trip promised to be quite expensive, which is the reason I applied for the IEEE Canada Vehicular Technologies travel grant.

The IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) is a widely known and important annual event for researchers in the field of control. To quote the conference website, the IEEE CDC "is internationally recognized as the premier scientific and engineering conference dedicated to the advancement of the theory and practice of systems and control". Due to the popularity of the conference, the most recognized and popular researchers from all across the globe regularly attend. This conference offers an immensely valuable opportunity for student-researchers to be exposed to new advancements in their field of research, to present their own research to a truly engaged and knowledgeable audience, and to personally meet and discuss ideas with researchers from all over the world.

In 2009, the 48th IEEE CDC was held in conjunction with the 28th Chinese Control Conference (CCC) at the Shanghai International Convention Center (photo shows the main conference room). Competition for the conference was tough since only 1473 papers were accepted for publication out of the 3105 initially submitted, which is why I was very excited when I learned that I was lucky enough to have my paper accepted.

The paper which I presented at the conference was entitled "Adaptive Position Tracking of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Airborne Aircraft (UAV)". This research is, in part, the focus of my doctoral studies in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of Western Ontario, under the supervision of Dr. Abdelhamid Tayebi (who also is with Electrical Engineering department at Lakehead University), (photo shows (L-R) Dr. Tayebi and myself at the conference).

In this paper I describe an autonomous control system for hovering-type aircraft (such as the ducted-fan aircraft) that can compensate for external disturbances, for example forces due to wind. There are several research groups, in different countries around the world, who are conducting similar research whom I cited as references in my paper. Fortunately, some of them were in attendance providing me with the opportunity to view their presentations, and meet with them to discuss our ideas and the current challenges we face in our research. There is no other event that can compare to a conference like the CDC that can offer experiences as great and as motivating as this (top photo shows (squinting from L-R) Dr. Tayebi, myself, and Dr. Tarek Hamel of I3S in France), (bottom photo shows Dr. Minh-Duc Hua from INRIA and myself).

An exciting part of the CDC is that it is held in a different location each year, encouraging people to travel to foreign and exotic locations. In addition to the tremendous experience I received from attending the conference, a great bonus was that I had the rare opportunity to visit a place like Shanghai, which is a wonderful and very modern city (photo shows the Shanghai radio tower outside the conference venue).

The only negative aspect of the trip (other than the thirteen-hour flights), was due to the cost of visiting such a distant location. Being the recipient of the IEEE Canada Vehicular Technologies Travel Grant is of great assistance to me due to the cost I incurred during my trip. I am truly thankful to the IEEE and especially to the IEEE Canadian Foundation who have been continuously enhancing my experience as a student in the field of engineering. Thank You!

Andrew D. Roberts

Photos provided by Andrew Roberts

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