RPC - Robotics, Processes and Calculation
Whether in everyday life or in industry, robots are on the verge of positively invading our daily lives. Originally conceived as simple manipulators capable of performing repetitive tasks with greater efficiency than humans, and greater flexibility than machine tools, robots are nowadays becoming more interactive with their environment and may one day become (finally) autonomous and/or collaborate in a simple and daily way with humans.
To reach this horizon, long awaited by society and industry (robotics must spread to SMEs in order to improve their productivity and avoid relocation), robotics research must make new breakthroughs in both the fields of action (handling, locomotion) and perception (sensors, reconstruction of the environment, localization) as well as their integration into control loops (command) supervised by algorithms.
Taking advantage of the advances in robotics that it had largely contributed to initiate, the world of machine tools, and more generally of automated manufacturing, has considerably evolved in recent years and its integration into the factory of the future raises problems requiring a strong investment from the world of research.
In this futuristic context, the RPC cluster is composed of four complementary teams, three (ARMEN, ReV, RoMaS) contributing in parallel to the development of robotics and manufacturing processes and a fourth (OGRE) developing tools for guaranteed numerical calculation. Culturally, the first three teams are strongly rooted in the mechanics applied to industry and society, and focus on developing automated mechanical processes by focusing on their interactions with their environment (autonomous robotics and sustainable design of ARMEN), their relationships with living organisms (locomotion, perception and bio-inspired design in ReV), or with manufacturing (optimization of manufacturing processes in RoMaS).
Beyond these differences, these three teams contribute to jointly develop generic robotics tools (analysis, modelling, control) whose exploitation requires intensive use of optimization techniques. That is the reason why the OGRE team positions itself within the cluster. Made up of computer scientists with a solid background in applied mathematics, it develops guaranteed resolution algorithms for non-linear optimization problems under constraints. The relevance of these methods in robotics and automation is attested by several joint publications with the other three teams.
In addition to this cross-functional link, the division's three application teams are able to develop synergies by sharing their complementary points of view on specific subjects (ReV's bio-inspired solutions for the autonomy of ARMEN, design strategies and control for large workspace robots of RoMaS, the design of ARMEN's innovative industrial robots, ARMEN's control and reconstruction techniques for control schemes developed by RoMaS, ReV's exoskeletons for RoMaS' cobotics, etc.).
Finally, in the field of applications, all the cluster's teams jointly participate in the development of industrial and service robotics, notably in three of the laboratory's cross-cutting themes:"Enterprise of the future","Energy management and control of environmental impacts","Vehicles and mobility".