Name Organization Topic Panel Status
Philippe Giguère Université Laval Robotics Researcher – Forestry Applications Technical Confirmed
Nichole Barger University of Colorado Boulder Ecological impact of technology in forestry Societal Confirmed
Micael Couceiro Ingeniarious Robotics and forestry company Technical Confirmed
Vijay Kumar University of Pennsylvania Robotics Research an link with industry/policy Societal Confirmed
Peter McHale Gaia AI Robotics and forestry company Technical Confirmed
Elizabeth Martinez TreeSwift Link between research and industry Societal Confirmed

Technical Panel                Societal Panel   

Philippe Giguère, eng. (Bac. : Eng. Phys. Laval U., MSc: CS Northeastern U., Ph.D.: CS McGill U.) is a professor in the Computer Science and Software Engineering department at Laval University since 2010. He cumulates eighteen years of experience in mobile robotics and sensor fusion, with over six years of experience in the industry. He conducts research at the Northern Laboratory (Norlab) where his main research theme is the increase of autonomy for cyber-physical systems in unstructured environments, by leveraging machine learning and sensor fusion. His most recent projects are related to automatizing forestry operation (harvesting, forwarding, in collaboration with FORAC), computer vision, 3D point cloud processing, mapping, localization, grasping and finally tactile sensing. He is also responsible for the Physical Environment thrust of the Institute for Intelligence and Data (IID) at Laval University.

Nichole Barger is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Barger received her Master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and holds a Ph.D. from Colorado State University. Barger works as an ecologist to support sustainable land management and restoration of a broad variety of ecosystems throughout the world. In her research program, she works in partnership with diverse governmental entities on land degradation and restoration issues such as the ecological risks of fire mitigation treatments, historical drivers and biogeochemical responses to woody plant encroachment, forest decline and regeneration, and more recently restoration of degraded dryland ecosystems with a specific focus on soil restoration. In addition to her research, she is involved in international science policy activities. She has served as a coordinating lead author on the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Land Degradation and Restoration assessment and is currently serving the Co-Chair of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Science Policy Interface group.

Dr. Kumar is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He has served on the editorial boards of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, and the Springer Tract in Advanced Robotics (STAR), and was the chief editor for the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. He has won best paper awards at DARS 2002, ICRA 2004, ICRA 2011, RSS 2011, RSS 2013, ICRA 2014, BICT 2015, and MARSS 2016 and has advised doctoral students who have won Best Student Paper Awards at ICRA 2008, RSS 2009, and DARS 2010. He is the recipient of the 2012 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Award, the 2012 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Service Award, a 2012 World Technology Network ( award, a 2013 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, a 2014 Engelberger Robotics Award, the 2017 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society George Saridis Leadership Award, the 2017 ASME Robert E. Abbott Award, the 2018 IEEE Robotics and Automation Pioneer Award, and the 2020 IEEE Robotics and Automation Field Award. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013 and the American Philosophical Society in 2018.

Dr. Couceiro obtained the B.Sc., Teaching Licensure, and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering at the Engineering Institute of Coimbra. The Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Coimbra, and the Postdoc studies on Human Kinetics at the University of Lisbon. Over the past 15 years, he has been conducting scientific research on several areas, including mobile robotics and intelligent systems. This resulted in over 50 articles in international impact factor journals, more than 80 articles at international conferences, 3 books, the supervision of 15 M.Sc. students, 3 ongoing Ph.D. student supervision, and the coordination of 11 R&D projects. He is currently an Associate Researcher at the Institute of Systems and Robotics and an Invited Professor at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro. He is also co-founder and CEO of Ingeniarius; a robotic solutions company.

Elizabeth Martinez brings to Treeswift 25 years of experience developing and supervising the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) for a Timber Investment Management Organization (TIMO) that has managed over 4 million acres of forestry to date. GIS provides the location of forest resources for analysis, planning, and reporting of timberland inventory, timber sales, property dispositions, environmental monitoring and protection, and environmental services such as carbon, and much more. Elizabeth planned, assigned, and reviewed the work of regional foresters and consultants for updates to the inventory database. Prepared maps and data sets for management. Key skills are communication and identifying efficient workflows for data collection, analysis, developing field apps, and administering arcgis online.

Co Founder of the Esri Forestry Group (EFG) to communicate forest industry GIS requirements to esri. EFG has over 7,000 members worldwide. As The VP of EFG Elizabeth participated in development of forestry conferences, and hosted webinars. Keynote speaker at 2021 SOFOR GIS conference.

Peter McHale has technical Masters degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and University of Michigan, and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked for five years on perception stacks in autonomous vehicles at Ford, Argo AI, and May Mobility. Now, Peter is spinning a climatetech startup out of MIT, Gaia AI. Gaia works to apply robotics and AI technology to verify forest carbon credits, bring trust to that market, and make trees a viable solution for fighting climate change.