The PROTEUS Project

The PROTEUS project ("Plateforme pour la Robotique Organisant les Transferts Entre Utilisateurs et Scientifiques" meaning Robotic Platform to facilitate transfer between Industries and academics) goal is to create a portal for the French robotic community as embodied by the GDR Robotique (Groupe de Recherche en Robotique) and its affiliated industrial partners club in order to facilitate transfer of knowledge and problems among this community.

Such a portal, to be of use, will be constituted of many parts nonetheless it has been identified that one key point is a toolset, the technological part of the platform, capable to consider two main points:

  • Field-oriented considerations through the production of sets of scenarios translating real life problems (often linked to industrial problems). These scenarios would be implemented in a runable environment. This axis takes into account the capability for the community to use real robots operated by end-users in order to directly assess its achievements (e.g. cognition and control algorithms) onto real industrial robots,
  • Software-oriented considerations that take into account tools to facilitate knowledge transfer, executable environments creation, and methodologies to make these enabling resources easily exploitable by diverse and numerous adopters of the community. The work to be done on this axis will be to provide a minimal formal language to support the description of scenarios and model integration facilities (model means here an external component, either stand alone components or library of components that that provides access point and capability to be externally sequenced).

As the robotic field is too large to be considered completely, the consortium restrict itself to its mastered fields. For the time being it means mainly aerial and terrestrial robotic as well as considerations on humanoid robotic. Other fields will be considered after this first step wil be achieved.

If the toolset is a key point, it remains an infrastructure for the community to use. To fill the portal of a first layer of knowledge, as embodied by algorithms, and problems, challenges will exist, embodying problems, that utilise real robots and based upon the toolset in order to initiate a wide acceptance of the portal through the community.

Another key orientation of the project is the pragmatic approach adopted. Each time the partners will consider a tool will not be used, its development will be stopped, following the principle that less tools largely used is better than more tools never used. In order to help the consortium consolidate its choices, an advisory board including for instance people coming from the “GDR Robotique” scientific committee and its associated partners’ club will be consulted every year.

In order to make this work available over the end of the project itself, another consideration will be to define the legal aspects concerning this portal and what it contains and how everything will be accessible by users and developers or, even, outside the community. Whatever the answers, the portal and its parts will become the responsibility of the GDR Robotique using the partners club funding.