Ph.D. Defense – Sylvain Thorel

Sylvain Thorel is pleased to invite you to his PhD. defense on november, Thursday 14, 10h30 am.
Ph.D title:

Design and construction of an autonomous hybrid ground/air drone for indoor applications

Date: thursday 14, november 2014, 10h30 am
Place:   Mines ParisTech 60 boulevard Saint-Michel 75006 Paris salle L106

Jury composition 

Mme Isabelle FANTONI, Directeur de recherche CNRS, Heudiasyc UTC, Examiner
M. Pascal MORIN, Professor, ISIR, UPMC, Rapporteur
M. Jean-Michel CORON, Professor, Laboratoire Jacques-Louis, UPMC, Examiner
M. Tarek HAMEL, Professor, i3s, sophia antipolis, Examiner
M. Phillipe MARTINET, Professor, IRCCYN, école Centrale de Nantes, Examiner
M. Bruno STEUX, Directeur R&D, Nexter Robotics, Examiner
Mme Brigitte D’ANDREA-NOVEL, Professor, CAOR, MINES ParisTech, Directeur de thèse


This thesis is dedicated to the non-linear control of a special hybrid quadrotor which is able to fly, and slide on the ground like an hovercraft. In the context of an autonomous indoor exploration this hybrid concept allows saving energy when flying is not necessary, since the drone can then slide on the ground without having to compensate for the gravity; autonomy can last beyond the 20 minutes typical of a standard quadrotor. Contrarily to wheeled mobile robots, the hybrid drone ability to move across space is strongly increased since it can fly to avoid obstacles, to move between two levels, to get in through a window. The study under consideration is essentially focused on the displacement of the drone on the ground and aims at designing and implementing a control law so that our system is able to track a 2D xy plane trajectory. This terrestrial quadrotor is similar to a slider underactuated vehicle. The point stabilisation is then separately studied from the trajectory tracking issue because of the Brockett condition, which is not satisfied in that case; our platform cannot be stabilized by means of continuous state feedbacks. This thesis proposes different theoretical developments based on the literature and deriving from time varying control laws, transverse functions, flatness or backstepping techniques to solve both point stabilisation and trajectory tracking. The experimental part of the thesis is based on the recovering of the drone position in real time and orientation via a Motion Capture system for feedback loop in the control law; the proposed dynamical model was validated as well as the control and command laws for the tracking of a circular trajectory.

Keywords: Quadrotors, hovercraft, underactuated system, non linear control, trajectory tracking, point stabilisation, autonomous indoor exploration.


Great success of the workshop organized by LIMA Project

Séminaire Projet LIMA

The annual workshop organized by the members of LIMA project at MINES ParisTech is a great success. You can find the program here.


Ph.D. Defense – Emilie Wirbel

Émilie Wirbel is pleased to invite you to his Ph.D. defense which take place on October, Tuesday 7th.
Title :

Localization and navigation of a humanoid robot in a domestic environment

Place:   Mines ParisTech 60 boulevard Saint-Michel 75006 Paris salle L109

Jury Composition 

M. David FILLIAT U2IS – ENSTA ParisTech Examiner
M. Olivier STASSE LAAS – CNRS Examiner
Arnaud DE LA FORTELLE MINES ParisTech – CAOR Director
M. Fabien MOUTARDE MINES ParisTech – CAOR Co-Director
M. Rodolphe GELIN Aldebaran Co-Director
M. Patrick RIVES INRIA Sophia Antipolis Examiner
M. Roland CHAPUIS Institut Pascal Examiner


This thesis covers the topic of low cost humanoid robots localization and navigation in a dynamic unconstrained environment. It is the result of a collaboration between the Centre for Robotics of Mines ParisTech and Aldebaran, whose robots, NAO and Pepper, are used as experimental platforms. We will describe how to derive information on the orientation and the position of the robot, under high constraints on computing power, sensor field of view and environment genericity. The environment is represented using a topological formalism : places are stored in vertices, and connected by transitions. The environment is learned in a preliminary phase, which allows the robot to construct a reference. The main contribution of this PHD thesis lies in orientation and approximate position measurement methods, based on monocular cameras with a restricted field of view, and their integration into a topological structure. To localize the robot in the robot, we use mainly data providing by the monocular cameras of the robot, while also allowing extensions, for example with a 3D camera. The different localization methods are combined into a hierarchical structure, which makes the whole process more robust and merges the estimations. A trajectory control has also been developped in order to transition accurately from one vertex to another, and incidently to provide a feedback on the walk of the robot. The results of this thesis have been integrated into Aldebaran software suite, and thoroughly tested in various conditions, in order to validate the conclusions and prepare a client delivery.

Talk on “France Culture”

This entry is only available in french…


Ph.D. Defense – Jean Gregoire

 The lab is pleased to announce the Ph.D. defense of Jean Gregoire which take place on september, monday 29 at 3H30 PM, in room L109.

Title : Priority-based coordination of mobile robots

Date: lundi 29 septembre 2014 à 15h30
Place: 60 boulevard saint-michel, 75006, Paris – L109
Advisor: Arnaud DE LA FORTELLE


  • Silvère BONNABEL Assistant Professor MINES ParisTech co-director
  • Domitilla DEL VECCHIO Associate Professor MIT Examiner
  • Arnaud DE LA FORTELLE Professor MINES ParisTech Director
  • Thierry FRAICHARD Assistant Professor, HDR INRIA Grenoble Rhône-Alpes Examiner
  • Emilio FRAZZOLI Professor MIT Examiner
  • Denis GILLET Assistant Professor EPFL Examiner
  • Jean-Paul LAUMOND Director of Research LAAS-CNRS Examiner


Keywords : mobile robots, motion planning, coordination, multi robot systems, robustness, three-layer architecture


Since the end of the 1980’s, the development of self-driven autonomous vehicles is an intensive research area in most major industrial countries. Positive socio-economic potential impacts include a decrease of crashes, a reduction of travel times, energy efficiency improvements, and a reduced need of costly physical infrastructure. Some form of vehicle-to-vehicle and/or vehicle-to-infrastructure cooperation is required to ensure a safe and efficient global transportation system. This thesis deals with a particular form of cooperation by studying the problem of coordinating multiple mobile robots at an intersection area. Most of coordination systems proposed in previous work consist of planning a trajectory and to control the robots along the planned trajectory: that is the plan-as-program paradigm where planning is considered as a generative mechanism of action. The approach of the thesis is to plan priorities – the relative order of robots to go through the intersection – which is much weaker as many trajectories respect the same priorities. Then, priorities are merely used as a coordination resource to guide robots through the intersection. Once priorities are assigned, robots are controlled through a control law preserving the assigned priorities. It results in a more robust coordination system – able to handle a large class of unexpected events in a reactive manner – particularly well adapted for an application to the coordination of autonomous vehicles at intersections where cars, public transport and pedestrians share the road.


ITS World Congress talk

“Network of automated vehicles: the AutoNet 2030 vision” was presented at the ITS World Congress. This paper give an overview on the network of automated vehicles for 2030.


IEEE ITS 2014 Paper Accepted

A paper was published in IEEE ITS 2014 (november, China). The title is “Priority-based coordination of autonomous and legacy vehicles at intersection”.

The preprint is available here:


Physics Based Rendering of Materials Aspect

This entry is only available in french…


Call for demos ITS World Congress Bordeaux 2015

The International Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) to be held from 5 to 9 October 2015 in Bordeaux has published a call for demonstration.

More information can be found on the official conference website:

The call for demonstrations is available here:


VeDeCoM Institut and the Center for Robotics

Center for Robotics former, Claude Laurgeau, professor at MINES ParisTech, has been appointed Chairman of the scientific and strategic broad of directors VeDeCoM.

To learn more, please follow this link: (french content) : link