Marine, Amphibious and Terrestrial Mobile Robotics

This research axis focuses on the development of the mobility and the autonomy of robotic systems in marine and terrestrial environments. The design of amphibious robots capable of displacement autonomy and capable of interacting with the person constitutes a major topic that has to be developed in the medium term. The design of sail vehicles and terrestrial vehicles with enhanced mobility is an axis of research that can contribute to the innovation in matter of amphibious robotics.
Four types of mobility can be distinguished:

  • bi-modal/multi-modal mobility ; the aim is to design an adapted mobility for amphibious systems with alternative propulsion compared with traditional propellers in aquatic environments – based on bio-inspired mechanisms for instance – capable of achieving versatile and complementary locomotion modes, in order to move efficiently in water and and on land, and in transitional environments.
  • interactive marine mobility; this topic deals with mobility aspects where humans interact physically with the machine. One of the objectives consists of designing operational companion robots for assistance and learning of sub-aquatic moves.
  • marine surface mobility ; this mobility concerns USV with wind power propulsion and navigation autonomy. Within this framework, the mecatronic developments are essential since this mobility must cope with changing situations produced by wind speed, marine currents, and sea surface disturbances such as waves and swell.
  • enhanced terrestrial mobility ; this kind of mobility includes legged systems, hybrid wheel-legged systems or wheel-caterpillar systems that can extend locomotion capabilities in order to fulfill a larger spectrum of exploration missions. Within this context, different locomotion modes can be compared (humans, humanoids, tetrapods, arthropods, etc.).

These activities actually involve innovative work in matter of:

  • mecatronic design of marine mobile robots (hull, skin, kinematics, architecture, motorization, propulsion/stabilization),
  • adequation of control techniques for marine and amphibious robots (balance keeping, dynamics, mass center and thrust center control, behaviors, obstacles, traversability, etc.).
  • perception systems, sensor-based control systems, and human-machines interfaces adapted to the environment (sensing equipment/layout, metrology, data fusion, localisation, robust state estimation, remote operation, safety).

The targeted applications are exploration, surveillance, intervention, and rescue missions in marine coastal environments.