Ph.D Position in Service Robotics - 2011 INRIA CORDI-S Campaign


Design of an Anthropomorphic Navigation Scheme for a Mobile Platform

General Information:

This position is offered at the INRIA Grenoble Rhone-Alpes Research Center of INRIA, located near Grenoble (South-Eastern part of France). Over 700 people are working there within 34 research groups and 10 support services. The candidate will work under Dr. Thierry Fraichard's guidance. The position is for three years and should start between September and December 2011. The starting salary for a Ph.D is ~1950€ gross/month (including standard health coverage).

This position is offered in the framework of the 2011 PhD Fellowships campaign of INRIA. A number of Fellowships are available at the national level. They are awarded to the best applicants at the end of a competitive selection process.

Internship Description:

Robotic systems come in a great variety of types and shapes (mobile platforms, humanoids, vehicles, etc.). In all cases, they have to move to perform whatever tasks have been assigned to them (pick an object, move to this location, monitor that area, etc.). Motion is therefore a key issue for robotic systems and it has been largely addressed in the past forty years. Until recently, the focus was primarily to avoid collision with the objects of the environment and to optimize a motion-related criterion (travel distance, travel time, energy consumption, etc.).

Nowadays, robotic systems are increasingly moving among and interacting with human beings. The presence of people has an impact on the way robots should move: you do not move around a person the way you would around a piece of furniture. In general, when one interacts with a human being (e.g., to avoid him, to salute him, to pass him an object.), one obeys a number of unspoken social rules. These rules must be identified and integrated in the navigation scheme of robotic systems so that their behaviour resemble that of a person thus facilitating the integration of robots in human-populated environments and their acceptance.

This PhD is in the scope of an INRIA research initiative called "Personally Assisted Living" (PAL) whose broader purpose is to develop technologies useful to assist disabled and old people in their daily lives [1]. In this framework, it is planned to develop a mobility aid such as an automated wheelchair that could operate autonomously in indoor and outdoor environments among people.

The purpose of this PhD is to tackle this anthropomorphic navigation problem. It will require first to identify the rules that should be obeyed by the robotic system in a number of selected situations. Second a navigation scheme that integrate such rules will have to de developed (see [2] for preliminary results on this topic).

Anthropomorphic navigation in a bar scenario

Fig. 1. Anthropomorphic navigation in a bar scenario [2].

Application Requirements:

Interested candidates holding a Master degree in Robotics, Electrical Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, or other related fields are invited to apply for admission. Fluency in English is required and knowledge of French is a plus. The candidate should be experienced in software development in C/C++ language under Linux. Any additional experience in Robotics research is welcome. Nationality is not taken into consideration. International applications are encouraged and will receive logistic support for visa issues, relocation, etc.

Application Procedure:

Application must be done on line on INRIA's website. The submission deadline is 4 May 2011. To apply, prepare one single PDF file containing the following items:

All these items are important and will help improving your chances of being selected (remember, it is a competitive selection process). You may want to contact Dr. Thierry Fraichard ( before going through the submission procedure.

Contact Person:


  1. Large Scale Initiative Action "Personally Assisted Living" (PAL) [www]/[www].
  2. L. Scandolo and Th. Fraichard. An anthropomorphic navigation scheme for dynamic scenarios. In IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, Shanghai (CN), May 2011 [www].

Last updated on Wednesday October 5th, 2011
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