Jens Wawerla

Autonomy Lab
School of Computing Science
Simon Fraser University
office: 8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC
Canada, V5A 1S6


My research goal is to understand and design artificial behaviour for self-sufficient, mobile robots. I am especially interested in decision processes trading-off the investment of time or energy in order to either perform some work or to obtain more energy. Usually working and energy harvesting are mutually exclusive tasks and an agent or robot constantly faces the question of whether it is better to work now or obtain energy in order to be able to perform work in the future.

I am also working on smart, long-lived sensor systems for harsh environments. The interesting challenge lies in engineering robust systems and designing systems that require little energy.


List of publications


fasr world Fast and Frugal Sustain and Resupply (FASR)
This project studies a multi-robot system that works to transport resources between known locations, recharging as necessary to continue their work indefinitely. Instead of a traditional centralized planning approach we employ a completely decentralized task-allocation strategy that only used locally sensed information. More...
Video [15 MB]
chatterbox Chatterbox Robots
We designed and built 30 Chatterbox robots; based on the iRobot Create mobile platform, the Chatterboxes feature stereo microphones and speakers for communication with each other and with humans. They also signal using five 24-bit colour LEDs, have IR sensors to detect obstacles, an ambient light sensor, wifi, a 400Mhz ARM processor running Linux and can recharge themselves. More...
bearcam BearCam
BearCam is an automatic wildlife monitoring system designed to be deployed under harsh environmental and low energy conditions, like those found at the Arctic Circle. The system records digital video for later post processing. During the post processing step, scene of interest to wildlife researchers are automatically found, so they can be analyzed by the researcher. More...
snowsensor SnowSensor
SnowSensor is a low cost sensor system for automatic, winter-long snow surveys. Traditionally snow depth measurements are conducted manually, this is time consuming and  costly. Therefore usually only sparse data can be collected. Snowsensor allows to sample snow depth every hour on each day during the entire winter. This plus the low cost of the system allows to collect spatially and temporally dense data sets. More...
Construction Collective Construction with Multiple Robots
The objective of this research is to design a multi-robot controller based on minimalist communication principles that can effectively achieve the construction of simple 2 dimensional structures. This work does not exhibit a system that performs construction as fast or as precisely as possible. It rather explores different coordination strategies. More...
Video [30 MB]