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Reference : UMR7287-MARCAD-003
Workplace : MARSEILLE 09
Date of publication : Friday, January 14, 2022
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 15 months
Expected date of employment : 1 March 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : Gross salary : between 2 743 and 3 161€/month (Net salary : between 2 205 and 2 540€/month)
Desired level of education : 5-year university degree
Experience required : 1 to 4 years
Development and testing on flying drone of an oscillating device that estimates distance
Various research studies have proposed bio-inspired alternatives, particularly for navigating in cluttered environments and avoiding obstacles [1,2], especially where GPS is inoperative.
There is a growing interest in the functioning of birds and flying insects for their ability to return to the nest. In particular, the honeybee is able to return to the hive from an estimation of the distance traveled based on the optical flow. Today, we believe that it is the oscillations generated by the bee itself during its flight that usefully creates a pattern of expansion and contraction of the optic flow: these patterns allow it to estimate the ground height based on the divergence of the optic flow and thus allows the integration of the translational optic flow to be rescaled to estimate the distance traveled.
This pre-maturation project aims to test a visual odometer inspired by bees with reduced cost and size in real conditions. Currently, robots and drones use GPS (not very accurate in cities) or SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation And Mapping) based on intensive image computation to estimate a distance traveled. We have filed a patent in January 2021 describing an oscillating device to estimate the distance to a surface and the distance traveled. Simulations  have allowed us to validate the estimation of the distance traveled in the presence of wind and terrain. This pre-maturation will aim at testing this odometer on a drone equipped with optical flow sensors outside between buildings and inside buildings, where the GPS signal is unavailable.
 Bergantin, L., Harbaoui, N., Raharijaona, T., & Ruffier, F. (2021). Oscillations make a self-scaled model for honeybees' visual odometer reliable regardless of flight trajectory. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 18(182), 20210567.
 Serres, J. R., & Ruffier, F. (2017). Optic flow-based collision-free strategies: From insects to robots. Arthropod structure & development, 46(5), 703-717.
- Implement the oscillatory process onboard the drone
- Test the height estimation and the odometer in the flying arena and then outdoors
- Have obtained a PhD in Robotics
- Knowledge of ROS/PX4 will be a benefit.
- Willingness to experiment
- Master English at least at the B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
The ISM-Biorobotic Lab is located on the Luminy Campus, in the Calanques National Park, Marseille.
The ISM-Biorobotic Lab is a rare example of real transdisciplinary research department. For almost 30 years, this research group, composed of five permanent researchers, one electronic engineer, one postdoc, two project-engineers and 8 PhD students, has acquired strong skills in the study of the visual system of invertebrates (especially fly and bee) and their behavior and sensorimotor control feedback loops (such as optic flow regulation) which are hard-wired into their brains.
The team built a variety of analog and digital electronic circuits, including aVLSI prototypes, that realized visual motion sensor array and also built no-less than 8 wheeled and flying robots.
The Biorobotics research group will provide a micro-mechanical workshop as well as a workshop in electronics and will mobilize specialized technicians in electronics and mechatronics. It will also make available laser cutting machine and several 3D printers for rapid prototyping. In addition, the Biorobotics team will provide a flying machine arena equipped with 17 VICON cameras that monitor in real time the trajectory of the robots in volume of 6 x 8 x 6 m3.
Constraints and risks
The contract may be renewed within the framework of another grant.
Travels of about a few days or one week to the outdoor experiment site in Grenoble.
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