UCalgary chosen for IDEaS Micro-Network

August 5th, 2021

The University of Calgary, along side 4 other Canadian universities, has been awarded the IDEaS fund to research the use of autonomous systems in national defence.


Liana Goodman


May Chan, Svetlana Yanushkevich

The University of Calgary has been chosen to participate in 1 of 6 micro-networks (micro-nets) across Canada. Funded by the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS), these university micro-net projects are working to innovate defense solutions for Canada.

A trial program, IDEaS may expand to larger networks across Canada as the government looks to universities for innovative solutions. The goal is to fund collaborative projects that would be difficult to complete as an individual and which contribute to advancing autonomous systems in Canadian defence. The IDEaS fund provided nearly $1.5 million to the UCalgary project.

The micro-net led by University of Calgary’s Svetlana Yanushkevich is titled AutoDefence: Towards Trustworthy Technologies for Autonomous Human-Machine Systems. Also collaborating in the micro-network is the University of Toronto, McGill University, the University of Waterloo, and Concordia University.

[T]he Department of National Defence is seeking to promote revolutionary advances in our understanding of autonomous systems for defence and security applications, with a focus on trust and barriers to adoption.

Government of Canada

The project works towards improving decision processes for autonomous systems, determining the cognitive load on human teams (when paired with autonomous systems), and developing machine learning to predict human actions.

The project is currently wrapping up its 2nd year of the 3 funded years. As of August 2021, 7 papers (5 in 2021 and 2 in 2020) with the current project results and progress have been published by Dr. Yanushkevich’s group, with the other 8 teams publishing at a similar rate. These papers explore the barriers in trust and adoption of autonomous systems in national defence.