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ROBOTEX: an Equipex in robotics

Robots and robo­tics in gene­ral have become essen­tial com­po­nents in aero­nau­tics, in trans­port, in civi­lian and mili­ta­ry secu­ri­ty, and this is true in France too.

Site web de ROBOTEX


France occu­pies rank #3 in the world in terms of publi­ca­tion of scien­ti­fic robo­tics papers, after the USA and Japan. France has no less than 10 000 research wor­kers in this field. Thus, the Robo­tex team was ran­ked 1st ex æquo among 52 teams decla­red as lau­reates of the 1st round of the call for pro­jects issued under the Govern­ment scheme 'Invest­ments for the Future' in the cate­go­ry 'Excel­lence' Equip­ments (Equi­pex).

The lat­ter are inter­me­diate sized equip­ment units (semi-hea­vy), ser­ving a par­ti­cu­lar pro­gramme and acces­sible to indus­tria­lists. ROBOTEX thus faci­li­tates the net­wor­king of the main research teams in robo­tics from 15 dif­ferent labo­ra­to­ries (as well as their infra­struc­tures), their tech­ni­cal test and research rigs and their scien­ti­fic acu­men and expertise.

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"Even if scien­ti­fic pro­gress is based pri­ma­ri­ly on equip­ment-soft­ware inte­gra­tion, using sen­sor tech­no­lo­gies, actua­tors, pro­gram­ming and on-board soft­ware, robo­tics draws on com­pu­ter sciences and engi­nee­ring sciences in gene­ral, imple­men­ting mecha­ni­cal engi­nee­ring, elec­tro­nics, com­pu­ter science appli­ca­tions and social sciences", details Phi­lippe Bon­ni­fait, a lec­tu­rer research scien­tist wor­king at the UTC-Heu­dia­syc Labo­ra­to­ry, desi­gna­ted by the INSIS-CNRS Ins­ti­tute as the nodal point for the natio­nal net­work of plat­forms stu­dying mobile robotics.

The UTC Heu­dia­syc Labo­ra­to­ry has been com­mit­ted for over 20 years to stu­dies on 'smart' vehicles, and in par­ti­cu­lar on the theme of mobile robo­tics. Deve­lop­ment at UTC (with the pri­vate com­pa­ny Induct) on robot urban all-elec­tric vehicles is an example. Funds obtai­ned in the fra­me­work of 'excel­lence' equip­ment also enables the labo­ra­to­ry to set up and equip an expe­ri­men­tal area close to the UTC Centre of Inno­va­tion and an exter­nal flight han­gar to stu­dy sta­bi­li­ty and control func­tions for a squa­dron of mini-drones cir­cu­la­ting in a natu­ral environment.

Pos­sible appli­ca­tions here are alrea­dy very nume­rous: obser­va­tion of fields and crops, moni­to­ring road traf­fic condi­tions or ris­ky loca­tions (nuclear power sta­tions), close exa­mi­na­tion of public works (dams, bridges, towers …), or high vol­tage ove­rhead power lines, inter­ven­tions in the case of disas­ter situa­tions or natu­ral catastrophes.

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