|EDEN / About|
"Robotics in natural environments" is an internal research project lead in the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence group at LAAS/CNRS. The objective of this project (nicknamed "EDEN", which stands for "Expérimentations de Déplacements en Environnements Naturels") is to study, conceive, develop and integrate on-board a robot the various functionalities required by autonomous navigation in outdoor unstructured environments. These functionalities comprise environment perception and modeling, robot localization, motion generation and motion execution control. Of course, the integration of these functionalities within a decisional architecture is also a key issue considered.
The first work related to this project in the lab dates back to the late 80's. At this time, the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence group was involved in studies related to planetary rover exploration, within the VAP project ("Véhicule Autonome Planétaire" and RISP consortium ("Robotique d'Intervention sur Site Planétaire"), and in the Eureka AMR project ("Advanced Mobile Robot"). The work mainly consisted in concept studies related to tele-programation and autonomous navigation.
In 1993, at the end of the AMR project, the robot Adam was lent to LAAS by its owners (Matra Marconi Space and Framatome). The concept studies began to turn into software developments, and various demonstrations involving environment modeling, localization, path and trajectory planning have been realized with Adam until 1995. During this era, the group was strongly involved in the Eureka I-ARES project, lead by CNES ("Illustrateur Autonome de Robotique d'Exploration Spatiale"). In 1996, Alcatel Space Industries lent us the Matshokhod chassis Lama, within which all our developments related to rover navigation are now integrated.
Recently, the project evolved towards aerial robotics and multi-robot cooperation, including aerial robots. In this context, we are working on an autonomous blimp, and a new ATRV robot is currently being equipped.
Originally, most of the work were devoted to rover planetary exploration. But a wider range of applications for autonomous rovers is now considered: civil security, demining, reconnoissance, environment monitoring...