Marco Tognon, PhD

Post-doctoral researcher


Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems (LAAS)

7, Avenue du Colonel Roche BP 54200
31077 Toulouse CEDEX 4, France


I am currently a post-doctoral researcher at Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems (LAAS), in particular working in the RIS team, together with Dr. Antonio Franchi and Dr. Juan Cortés. I am also collaborating at the European project AEROARMS.

In July 2018 I obtained the PhD in robotics from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Toulouse (INSA). I carried out my PhD thesis on aerial physical interaction at Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems (LAAS), under the supervision of Dr. Antonio Franchi  and Dr. Juan Cortés. I have been a visiting graduate student at the Robotics, Vision and Control Group (GRVC) in the University of Seville, under the supervision of Dr. Anibal Ollero.

I got the master degree in Automation Engineering at the University of Padua under the supervision of Prof. Ruggero Carli, after an internship at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in the Autonomous Robotics and Human-Machine Systems group under the supervision of  Dr. Antonio Franchi

Research Topics

Keywords: aerial robotics, aerial physical interaction, tethered aerial vehicles, fully-actuated aerial vehicles, aerial manipulators, cooperative aerial manipulation, hybrid position-force control, kinodynamic motion planning.

My research is centered on the study of autonomous systems and in particular on robotics. Robots are capable of sensing the environment and of acting according to it. Nevertheless, they have to be carefully designed in order to perform tasks of increasing complexity, in a fully autonomous way or cooperating with other robots or even with human beings.

Regarding my principal research activity, it is focused on autonomous aerial robots interacting with the environment. In particular in the control and motion planning of such systems. Nowadays Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are normally used as simple autonomously moving sensors embedded with contact-less-based sensors like cameras. In order to go beyond this limited application and to use aerial vehicles as proper robots capable to physically interact with the environment, new control methods are needed to preserve the stability of the system and to obtain the desired motion. Moreover, the latter has to be carefully designed using motion planning techniques to plan a motion that avoids possible obstacles and that is feasible for the system dynamics. In the context of physical interaction, classical motion planning methods relying only on the kinematics-based approaches, are inadequate to achieve the desired task. This is why new kinodynamic motion planning methods have to be designed in order to cope with the dynamics of the systems and the forces exchanged with the environment during manipulations tasks.    

In the context of aerial physical interaction, I am working on tethered aerial vehicles. Such systems consist of one or more aerial robots physically connected to the ground or to a mobile platform through general links such as cables, chains or bars. For this system, although more constrained with respect to free-flying vehicles, the use of the tether is very useful to overcome the classical limitations of aerial vehicles and to improve their stability during dangerous maneuvers. The study of these systems allowed me to prove some of their specific properties, exploited to design new controllers for different applications like landing on a sloped surface. 

In the field of aerial manipulation, considering aerial vehicles endowed with robotic arm(s) I'm working on the design and implementation of new controllers and motion planning methods. In particular, they must exploit the dynamics of the full system in order to interact with the environment and to perform agile maneuvers.