The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) is one of the two federal research institutions in Switzerland and ranked 18th in the world and 2nd in Europe for engineering and computer science (2008 Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranking). With an established track record in natural and engineering science, EPFL has since 2000 significantly invested in novel, interdisciplinary projects at the crossroads of engineering and biology. Multiple aspects of robotics and intelligent systems are covered by 10 laboratories in the Schools of Engineering, Computer Science, and Environmental Engineering, totalling almost 150 persons, and consisting of two mechanical and electronics workshops, and large supercomputing facilities.
The mission of LIS is to extract principles of biological self-organisation for the design of technological artefacts with autonomous and adaptive intelligence. The laboratory consists of 20 researchers and engineers engaged in the fields of flying robotics, collective intelligence, and adaptive systems. It has access to state-of-the-art facilities for design and fabrication of electronic circuits, micro-mechanical components, super-computing systems, and aerodynamics study by means of wind tunnels. The laboratory has developed several award-winning technologies. These include vision-based micro-robots capable of autonomously flying indoor (2006 best-paper award at the International Conference on Robotics and Intelligent Systems out of 1200 submissions) and were featured by MIT Technology Review; the EC-funded Swarm-bots, a swarm of self-connecting robots featured in 2007 by National Geographic magazine, Wired magazine, and IEEE Robotics magazine, and labelled as success story by the European Commission.
EPFL-LIS is leader of WP5 and will develop control strategies for mid-air collision avoidance and formation flying. They will also contribute to unmanned platform development in WP4.
The research activities of the Computer Vision Laboratory (CVLab) focus on shape and motion recovery from video sequences. This includes human body modelling, fast object detection, and real-time reconstruction of deformable 3D surfaces. CVLab also provides undergraduate and graduate teaching and performs technology transfer to both established and start up companies. CVLab’s current staff includes one professor, three post-doctoral fellows and twelve doctoral students. They are funded in part by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the National Swiss Research Foundation, and the Federal Office for Education and Science and in part by several European Union projects.
CVLab is leader of WP5 and will develop automation algorithms for determining a landing spot and automatic take-off and landing of a UAV and integration of a subset of these algorithms into the Flying Helicopter Simulator.