I will present the long-term vision, approach, and results obtained so far to let robots live in the 3rd dimension. Taking inspiration from nature, I will start by describing how robots could take off the ground by jumping and gliding. I will then move on to autonomous flight in cluttered environments and on the issue of perception and control for small flying systems in indoor environments. This will lead to the next step resulting in outdoor flying robots that can autonomously regulate altitude, steering, and landing using only perceptual cues. I will then expand the perspective by describing how multiple robots could fly in swarm formation in outdoor environments by means of evolved controllers and how these achievements could possibly lead to fleets of personal aerial vehicles in the not-so-far future. I will close the talk by going back indoor with current work on radically new concepts of flying robots that collaborate with teams of terrestrial and climbing robots and of flying robots designed to survive and even exploit collisions.
Prof Dario Floreano is the Director of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland (EPFL) and Director of the Swiss National Center of Robotics, a national strategic initiative which brings together all major robotics labs in Switzerland. His research focuses on the convergence of biology, artificial intelligence, and robotics. He published three books on the topics of evolutionary robotics, bio-inspired artificial intelligence, and bio-mimetic flying robots with MIT Press and Springer Verlag. 1988 M.A. University of Trieste; 1991 M.S. University of Stirling; 1995 PhD University of Trieste; 1998, Sony Computer Science Laboratories; since 2000 professor positions at EPFL; 2001 co-founder of the International Society of Artificial Life, Inc.; 2003-2008 Board of Governors of the International Society of Neural Networks; 2009 Advisory Board of the Future Emerging Technologies of the European Commission; 2009 co-founder of senseFly Ltd.