The CNRS, guardian of robotics

imagesHumanity is at the dawn of the robotics era. The final verdict is that of Philippe Coiffet, one of the founding fathers of robotics in France, now director of research at the CNRS Laboratory Robotique de Versailles (LRV) and writer. However, significant scientific advances of this major emerging discipline has undergone major changes.
In France, everything starts in the South in the early ’70s, mainly with Philippe Coiffet Montpellier and Toulouse by Georges Giralt who founded a major research group at LAAS CNRS. In fifteen years, the discipline will extend to the entire France and most universities enter into research, driven by high demand industry that welcomes the progress promised by the robot manufacturers. Two national projects, which involved the CNRS, called Spartacus and ARA (Advanced Automation and Robotics) support research.
This program, initiated and led by Georges Giralt and coordinated by Philippe Coiffet, lasts from 1980 to 1985 and contains four sub-scale projects while contributing to the international reputation of French robotics. Ara had an annual budget of several million francs of the time, who was then the largest research program in Europe!
The late ’80s marked a turning point: the industry is content to their robots and withdraw gradually from the board. Work will then focus on another type of machinery, mobile robots. “Fortunately, some companies such as LAAS has long been working on these robots,” says Georges Giralt, now research director emeritus. This was not the For all countries: the United States, all projects on the subject were interrupted. Our researchers were then contacted by the late ’80s to develop the first applications. “Generally speaking, France has always had d ‘a robotics research performance and recognized abroad. While the last decade has seen sell first in Europe to Germany but “collaborations between French and laboratories abroad are numerous and balanced,” says Georges Giralt. Apart from the CNRS, the robotic submarine developed by Ifremer is an example of the jewels that have earned us great respect internationally. ”
Today, the program Robea (link to article) aims to promote research in robotics in all its components, even though some are preferred. Indeed, some developments can not be ignored, such as the rise of the imitation of living systems or biomimetic “robots who only have wheels or tracks can only access half the landmass, explains Philippe Coiffet. Providing them with the walk or feed is a worthwhile objective. On the other hand, the freedom of living things adapt to their environment is a blueprint for scientists who want to make robots autonomous. Finally, we entered into a service approach that could become a logical “public” then everyone would have a personal robot from a human or animal. ”
This approach, which refers to the idea of robot slave, he suffered only twenty years ago a philosophical rejection appears less strong today, but that allowed a country like Japan to take a slight edge in d ‘humanoid. In the land of the Rising Sun, the Shinto tradition take effect in respect to objects in human form or animal and giving them some of the characters alive. However, the alliance of French and Nippon Research has perhaps never been stronger than today, as evidenced by the birth of an International Associated Laboratory, the Joint Robotics Laboratory (JRL), the result of a partnership between the CNRS and its japanese counterpart, AIST, which will focus on humanoid robots. Today, they have many human attitudes as the way they get up after falling. And to think that robotics is at the dawn of humanity!