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Collaborative robotics

List institute designs and develops collaborative robots or “cobots” sensitive in terms of efforts, precise and safe that interacts with a human operator: task sharing in a common work space, gesture or heavy weight assistance etc. We also design exoskeletons.

Our researchers rely on their competencies in mechanics, electronics, automatics and computer science. They collaborate with industrial companies from nuclear, off-shore, mining, manufacturing and medical sectors (surgery assistance, minimally invasive surgery).

Among our academic partners

ISIR (Paris 6 University’s Institute for Smart Systems and Robotics), LIRRM (Montpellier University and CNRS Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics and Microelectronics), IRCCyN (Joint research unit on communication and cybernetics between CNRS and Ecole Centrale de Nantes), Cetim (The French Technical centre for mechanical industry)

Our assets

  • Robots complete design and development without reuse of existing products or functions for a perfect adjustment to application,
  • Researchers involvement until operational use,
  • Future ISO standard on force feed-back telemanipulation for nuclear sector held by List

European projectsEurope

The CEA List institute leads several european projects:

Reference: FOF - 869963, 2019-2023, 8 M€, coordinator: CEA LIST
Objectives: MERGING will deliver a turnkey robotic solution to automate handling of flexible and fragile objects. The solution to be developed will consist of a multi-finger gripper equipped with an electro-adhesive skin that conforms to the objects to handle various and delicate fabrics or components without any damage. Electro-adhesion increases the direct gripping forces and thus allows greatly reduced clamping forces. The complete robotic solution includes perception and supervision functions to adapt the system's behaviour in real time to the execution conditions and for robot system programming accessible to non-specialists. It will use proven laboratory technologies (TRL 4), and carry out proof of concept in realistic environments (TRL 6) in three different applications and sectors: fabric handling for lingerie manufacturing, technical fiber handling for composite bus panel manufacturing, and plastic pouches handling for the food industry.
Expected Impact:
The project ambition is to provide manufacturers with an end-to-end solution to automate the handling of soft objects. To obtain this result, MERGING will involve the entire value chain of soft object gripping automation. The main challenges are to build a versatile, easy-to-use and low-cost system. This is a key to demonstrate the potential to bring back production to Europe, and if possible to increase by 15% the OECD Job Quality Index through work environment and safety improvement, and to ensure 20% increase in productivity.
Reference: ICT-824990, 2019 – 2022, Budget: 16 M€,Coordinator: CEA LIST (FR)
Objectives: RIMA is a 4-year project aiming to achieve this by establishing a network of 13 Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) on robotics and a large number of industry associations sharing best practices and providing services to facilitate step change in uptake of I&M technologies.
Description & Results:
RIMA will pursue the following goals:

  • To establish a network of Digital Innovation Hubs.
  • To support Cross border experimentation and support to EU SMEs
  • To provide robotics I&M education and training
  • To connect the EU I&M robotics to other domains and share best practises

Website: https://rimanetwork.eu/

Reference: H2020 ICT- 732410, 2017 – 2020, Budget: 8 M€, Coordinator: CEA (FR)
Objectives: RobMoSys will coordinate the whole community’s best and consorted effort to build an open and sustainable, agile and multi-domain European robotics software ecosystem.
Description & Results:
The project proposes composable models and software for robotics systems:

  • Integrated approach built on top of the current code-centric robotic platforms, by applying model-driven methods and tools.
  • Management of the interfaces between different robotics-related domains in an efficient and systematic way according to each system’s needs.
  • Quality-of-Service properties, enabling a composition-oriented approach while preserving modularity.
  • Drive the non-competitive part of building a professional quality ecosystem by encouraging the community involvement.
  • Elaborate many of the common robot functionalities based on broad involvement of the community via two Open Calls.

Website: http://robmosys.eu/

The CEA List institute is also involved in various other european projects:

Reference: ICT- 825395, 2019-2024, 16 M€, coordinator: WAGENINGEN University and Research
Objectives: AgROBOfood builds the European ecosystem for the effective adoption of robotics technologies in the European agri-food sector and accelerates the digital transformation to make the European agri-food sector more efficient and competitive.
Expected Impact:
The heart of the agROBOfood project is formed by Innovation Experiments, organized and monitored by Digital Innovation Hubs. In 7 Regional Clusters, Initial Innovation Experiments will demonstrate robotics innovations in agri food, in a manner that ensures replicability and wide adoption across Europe. Digital Innovation Hubs will support companies in digitization by connecting various stakeholders. agROBOfood already connects the world of Robotics and Agriculture, R&D and business by establishing a sustainable network of Digital Innovation Hubs. The network already counts 49 Digital Innovation Hubs and 12 Competence Centers and it will be extended and strengthened during the project. In addition, agROBOfood will launch "Open Calls" through which it will attract and fund additional Innovation Experiments and Industrial Challenges. A total of €8 million will be allocated for the direct benefit of SMEs through "Open Calls".

Website: https://agrobofood.eu/.
Reference: ICT – 825003, 2019-2024, 16 M€, coordinator: University of Twente (NL)
Objectives: DIH-HERO primary objective is to accelerate innovation in robotics for healthcare. To connect innovators, providers, businesses, users and politicians, DIH-HERO will establish an open online portal offering multiple services facilitating collaboration on various innovations, emphasizing the sharing of best practice and enhancing the delivery of innovation throughout the value chain. DIH-HERO especially focuses on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in maximizing their impact and reducing time-to-market. By connecting businesses and healthcare stakeholders, DIH-HERO enables them to develop innovative products and services that are better fitted to the needs of the healthcare systems across Europe. Furthermore, DIH-HERO will engage in necessary standardization for robotics in healthcare, including ethical, legal and societal issues.
CEA Role:
CEA LIST is in charge of setting up the Paris-Saclay Digital Innovation Hub on robotics for Healthcare and operating the RIF Paris Saclay to support transfer of technologies to SMEs. The DIH will offer the necessary support to organise the appropriation of robotics technologies for the Healthcare domain. In practice, this will involve providing SMEs with the available information held in the CEA robotics unit, organising training, supporting experiments and assisting in the adaptation of technologies. In addition to technical assistance, this will include assistance in finding partners to facilitate technology development among known network technology providers, integrators, service providers. The DIH will also provide support for the maturation and marketing of technologies that SMEs have appropriated. Thanks to the DIH network, it will also be a question of helping to develop customers and deploy technologies in Europe.

Website: https://dih-hero.eu/.
Reference: ICT- 780265, 2018-2021, 8 M€, coordinator : LMS
Objectives: ESMERA aims to support SMEs in the realization, testing and promotion of novel robotic technologies through:

  • Providing industrial challenges defined by key EU companies and stimulating SMEs to compete to address real life problems that already have a market.
  • Engaging a number of competence centers (RIF Paris Saclay, LMS CC, Tekniker CC, TUM CC) that can provide an environment for development, evaluation, testing, and demonstration.
  • Offering direct financial support through a cascade funding mechanism.
  • Offering mentoring and support in developing business cases and managing the complete chain from “idea to market product”.
  • Involving industrial associations and networks that can directly promote the developed solutions to their members.

Expected Impact: ESMERA will contribute to overall growth of SMEs by targeting new robotics markets, driven by industrial challenges, which originate in the needs of large companies operating in non-robotized production environments.Individual experiments shall bring together all actors of the value chain necessary to equip new users with novel products / services and assist them to customize and apply these in their respective environments. The project aims to carry out a number of research experiments demonstrating the proof of concept for new robotic technologies. The main effort has been put in ensuring that all entities have strong links and potential to open new markets inside the EU and to engage companies that can strongly benefit by robotics either as technology providers or as end users and support them in further investing on the project results for their business.

Website: http://www.esmera-project.eu/.

Reference: ICT – 730994, 2018-2023, 16 M€, coordinator: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pise (IT)
Objectives: TERRINet is the European Robotics Research Infrastructure offering the top quality infrastructures, excellent research services and training to: school students, undergraduate, graduate, PhD, Master Industrial researchers and Academics including postdoctoral, Entrepreneurs Micro and SMEs, Mid-Caps, Large industries. It represents the effort made by Europe to maintain its leadership in Robotics, by focusing on research.
The project is also committed to grow and educate a new generation of researchers in Robotics able to design, develop and manage future robots.
Objectives are:

  • To serve as a multi-disciplinary, trans-national environment to facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas and sharing of excellent scientific research
  • To enable different users (researchers, entrepreneurs, students, …) to obtain easy access to various installations at providers’ infrastructures to fully exploit their potential and multiply their impact on research and innovation

Expected Impact:

  • Support novel and more disruptive approaches pursuing the vision of the robot of the future.
  • Reinforce partnership of research organisations with industry.
  • Educated a new generation of researchers ready to exploit all the tools for their investigations both in academic and industrial fields.
  • Provide integrated and harmonised access to infrastructures and services resources to allow their exploitation as testing and evaluation facilities for innovation and trigger efficient technology transfer in Europe.

Website: https://www.terrinet.eu/.

Reference: ICT- 779966, 2018-2021, 10.7 M€, coordinator: DTI (Danish Technological Institute)
Objectives: COVR's objective is to systematically eliminate barriers to certification and safety, in order to promote the widespread use of collaborative robots (or cobots) in a broad range of industries and fields. COVR addresses robotic technologies that share space and tasks with humans, such as collaborative manipulators, mobile robots, active exoskeletons, rehabilitation robots. The safety issues raised are both non-technical (e. g. understanding and correctly applying current standards) and technical (e. g. dealing with reconfigurable systems that can change their behaviour over time).
COVR develops a single-point-of-access framework for validating the safety of collaborative robots, organised around European directives and standards, accessible to all.
COVR provides safety test facilities at the five partner sites and develops a set of proven and widely usable test protocols for safety validation in collaborative robotics applications. Particular attention is paid to the manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, health and rehabilitation sectors. COVR will give €5.4 million to "third parties", i.e. organisations outside the project, through three calls for projects. Award recipients will act as alpha and beta testers for COVR as they develop, install and evaluate their own product or system.
Expected Impact:
COVR will contribute to the development of cobot and collaborative robotics technology by increasing the real and perceived human safety. This impact will be achieved through about 75 funded projects and the tools developed by COVR, as well as services, training and communication with skateholders. We hope to reach a consensus that validation according to a COVR protocol will be accepted throughout Europe, thus reducing uncertainty and eliminating a critical obstacle to more widespread use of robots. The sustainability and expansion of a network of COVR hubs in EU is also anticipated.
Website: http://safearoundrobots.com/ 
Reference: ICT-680734, 2015 – 2020, Budget: 8.9 M€, Coordinator: European Dynamics (EL)
Objectives: HORSE (Smart integrated Robotics system for SMEs controlled by Internet of Things based on dynamic manufacturing processes) aims to bring a leap forward in the manufacturing industry proposing a new flexible model of smart factory involving collaboration of humans, robots, AGV’s (Autonomous Guided Vehicles) and machinery to realize industrial tasks in an efficient manner. HORSE proposes to foster technology deployment towards SMEs by developing a methodological and technical framework for easy adaptation of robotic solutions and by setting up infrastructures and environments that will act as clustering points for selected application areas in manufacturing and for product life cycle management (production and/or maintenance and/or product end of life). The main strategy builds on existing technology and research results in robotics and smart factories and integrates them in a coherent framework.
Description & Results:

  • Four Competence Centers were established in four locations across Europe: France (CEA), Germany (TUM), Netherlands (TNO) and Slovenia (TCS) in order to simplify usage and facilitate access to robotics by European industry and especially first users SME.
  • 7 FSTP experiments were implemented successfully HORSE framework for production monitoring
  • 3 pilot experiments were implemented using HORSE for manufacturing applications

CEA Role:

  • CEA Competence Center setup and animation: http://www.horse-project.eu/CEA-Competence-Centre
  • Technical follow-up of HORSE modules development
  • Development of software modules for HORSE framework: programming by demonstration and situation awareness
  • Contracting and monitoring of open call experiments

Website: http://echord.eu/the-http://www.horse-project.eu 

Reference: FP7 ICT-601116, 2013 – 2018, Budget: 6.5 M€, Coordinator: TUM (GE)
Objectives: ECHORD aims at producing new knowledge through advancing the state of the art in selected research foci and developing novel technology from which new products can be derived. Within ECHORD, opportunities for knowledge advancement and technology transfer between academia and industry will be created across the whole continent. This will be achieved through the solicitation of focused, small-size RTD projects, so-called experiments. Via these experiments, ECHORD will bring about a large-scale introduction of robotic equipment into research institutions. This is expected to result in both tangible and measurable out-comes in terms of the accelerated development of technologies, as well as the deployment of robotics technology into new scenarios for the direct application of research results. For ECHORD, three such scenarios have been defined: human-robot co-working, hyper flexible cells, and cognitive factories. The foremost purpose of the scenarios is to define an environment that is both scientifically challenging to research institutions and commercially relevant to robot manufacturers.
Description & Results:
Three RIFs (Research Innovation Facilities) in UK, IT, FR:

  • facilities for bringing experiments (i.e. researchers and industry) in direct contact with current and new users of robotics technologies.
  • software and hardware platforms as well as profound knowledge for systems integration
  • host for benchmark suites, e.g. for system robustness, and support to standardization efforts.


CEA Role: responsible of the RIF Paris Salay and the experiments done in.
Website: http://echord.eu/the-paris-saclay-rif/index.php.html 

Reference: RIA - 653395, 2015-2019, 8 M€, coordinator: CEA LETI
Description & Results:
This 42-month European H2020 project, which began in May 2015, aimed to design and deploy a fleet of light urban electric vehicles dedicated to shared driving. These vehicles have the particularity of being able to couple together for train navigation, in order to ensure their redeployment in all urban and peri-urban stations.
In charge of the work package dedicated to the kinematic and dynamic control-command system within and between vehicles, the CEA List participated in the development of the project, the functional and technical specifications of the vehicle controller, and the development and implementation of dynamic stabilization algorithms for the vehicle train, on dynamic simulator and during experimental phases.
Website: http://www.esprit-transport-system.eu/ 

Reference: IA - 636300, 2015-2018, 12.4 M€, coordinator: UITP Belgium
Website: https://ebsf2.eu/demonstration-sites/paris
Description & Results:
This 36-month European H2020 project, which began in May 2015, aimed to automate the navigation of a RATP bus in order to park alone in the bus centre. RATP's aim was to save time and space for storing buses in warehouses. As a technical intervener, CEA ensured the development and implementation of the autonomous navigation on the bus, including supervision, perception and control, on simulator and during real tests on the operating site.

Reference: : ICT-645582, 2015 – 2018, Budget: 6.5 M€, Coordinator: University of Birmingham (UK)
Objectives: The RoMaNS project will advance the state of the art in mixed autonomy for tele-manipulation, to solve a challenging and safety-critical “sort and segregate” industrial problem, driven by urgent market and societal needs.
Description & Results:
the results of ROMANS project are:

  • Develop novel hardware and software solutions for advanced bi-lateral master-slave tele-operation.
  • Develop advanced autonomy methods for highly adaptive automatic grasping and manipulation actions.
  • Combine autonomy and tele-operation methods using state-of-the-art understanding of mixed initiative planning, variable autonomy and shared control approaches.
  • Deliver a TRL 6 demonstration in an industrial plant-representative environment at the UK National Nuclear Lab Workington test facility.


CEA Role: responsible for the novel hardware and software solutions for advanced bi-lateral master-slave tele-operation.

Reference: ICT-601003, 2013 – 2017, Budget: 4.735 M€, Coordinator: TECNALIA (Spain)
Objectives: in order to move exoskeletons for-walking toward real life applications, BALANCE will realize a platform-independent control strategy and architecture for such exoskeletons. The work will focus on robust balance performance and thus safety of the human wearing the exoskeleton.
Description & Results:
The results of BALANCE project are:

  • Understanding in more detail the human control of postural balance
  • Realize monitoring of the postural balance of a human-exoskeleton combination in functional human walking.
  • Create a human-cooperative robotic postural balance controller framework
  • Implement the human cooperative postural balance controller on a real exoskeleton.


CEA Role: responsible for the System Implementation, Integration and Evaluation WP, development of the experimental platform for human cooperative controller.
Website: http://www.balance-fp7.eu/

Reference: ICT-231640, 2009 – 2013, Budget: 8.2 M€, Coordinator: UNIVERSITE PIERRE ET MARIE CURIE - PARIS 6 (Fr)
Objectives: The HANDLE project aims at understanding how humans perform the manipulation of objects in order to replicate grasping and skilled in-hand movements with an anthropomorphic artificial hand, and thereby move robot grippers from current best practice towards more autonomous, natural and effective articulated hands. The goal is to endow the proposed robotic hand with advanced perception capabilities, high level feedback control and elements of intelligence that allow recognition of objects and context, reasoning about actions and a high degree of recovery from failure during the execution of dexterous tasks.
CEA Role: responsible for the design and prototyping of a novel electric force control dextrous robotic hand.

Reference: ICT-248552, 2010 – 2012, Budget: 2.3 M€, Coordinator: KUKA Laboratories GmbH (D)
Objectives:Improvement of cooperation between all robotics stakeholders and domains.
Description & Results:
EURobotics targets two main objectives: the improvement of cooperation between industry and academia and the enhancement of public perception of European robotics. In an ideal world, academia finds solutions required by industry to develop products that fulfil a market need. Both communities benefit from this cooperation because academia receives funds through technology transfers and industry can enhance their market position through innovative products. This project gave European robotics an advantage by kick-starting several of the stimulations required for this ideal world to be realised. The strategic impact of EURobotics lies in defining and implementing activities involving all relevant stakeholders and to thereby allowing European robotics to maintain its strong position and to gain worldwide leadership.


Major technologies

Ball-screw actuation and very low friction cables

Description

The traditional effort sensors are here being replaced by electric engines current-regulated compensation. Using ball-screw and cables instead of poly-articulated systems removes most of friction problems. Actuation efficiency can then go beyond 97% instead of 80 to 85% for standard market robots: this sharpness and precision gain makes it possible to execute very precise and delicate tasks.

 
 

Exoskeleton for gesture assistance (chain workers, operator, elderly and/or disabled people)

Description

Hercule, the very first European exoskeleton has been developed in our labs since 2009 in collaboration with RB3D Company. Hercule is equiped with reversible cables actuators and with an ARM Cortex-8 computer core for a real-time movement management. He offers a high level of fluidity and operation plus an excellent energetic efficiency with a 4h autonomy at 5km/h. Several upper and lower body exoskeleton demonstrators have been developed for military and civilian applications on heavy weight manipulation and highly painful work tasks assistance.

A whole body exoskeleton that will bring back mobility to tetraplegic people is actually being studied. It is made of 2 arms with 7 degrees of freedom effort controlled plus Hecule’s legs’ next version.

Major projects

 
 

Dextre cooperative manipulation

Description

We are actually developing an articulated arm with a high level of dexterity and versatility targeting industrial applications that request human hand and arm precision.

Major projects