Origin of the project

Chroma is a bi-localized project-team at Inria Grenoble Rhone-Alpes between Grenoble and Lyon. The project was launched at the beginning of the year 2015 (March) before it became an Inria project-team on December 1st, 2017. It brings together experts in perception and decision-making for mobile robotics, all of them sharing common approaches that mainly relate to the field of Artificial Intelligence. It was originally founded by members of Inria project-team eMotion led by Christian Laugier (2002-2014) and teacher-researchers from INSA National Institute of Applied Sciences Lyon INSA Lyon is part of the University de Lyon working in the robotic group led by Prof. Olivier Simonin in CITI Lab. Centre of Innovation in Telecommunications and Integration of Service, see (since 2013). Earlier members include Olivier Simonin (Prof. INSA Lyon), Christian Laugier (Inria researcher DR1), Jilles Dibangoye (Asso. Prof. INSA Lyon), Agostino Martinelli (Inria researcher CR1) and Dizan Vasquez (Inria starting researcher SRP). On December 1st, 2015, Anne Spalanzani (Asso. Prof. Univ. Grenoble, habilite) joined the team (she was previously member of Prima and eMotion Inria project-teams). In January 2016, Dizan Vasquez left the team to join Apple.

Overall Objectives

The overall objective of Chroma is to address fundamental and open issues that lie at the intersection of the emerging research fields called “€œHuman Centered Robotics”€ Montreuil, V.; Clodic, A.; Ransan, M.; Alami, R., « Planning human centered robot activities, » in Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 2007. ISIC. IEEE International Conference on , vol., no., pp.2618-2623, 7-10 Oct. 2007 and “Multi-Robot Systems (MRS) IEEE RAS Multi-Robot Systems« .

More precisely, our goal is to design algorithms and develop models allowing mobile robots to navigate and cooperate in dynamic and human-populated environments. Chroma is involved in all decision aspects pertaining to single and multi robot navigation tasks, including perception and motion-planning.

The general objective is to build robotic behaviors that allow one or several robots to operate safely among humans in partially known environments, where time, dynamics and interactions play a significant role. Recent advances in embedded computational power, sensor and communication technologies, and miniaturized mechatronic systems, make the required technological breakthroughs possible (including from the scalability point of view).

Chroma is clearly positioned in the third challenge of the Inria 2013-2017 Strategic Plan « Interacting with the real and digital worlds: interaction, uses and learning ».

Research themes

To address previous challenges, we take advantage of recent advances in all: probabilistic methods, planning techniques, multi-agent decision making, and machine learning. We also draw inspiration from other disciplines such as Sociology to take into account human models.

Two main research themes of mobile robotics are addressed : i) Perception and Situation Awareness ii) Navigation and Cooperation in Dynamic Environments. Next, we elaborate more about these themes.

  • Perception and Situation Awareness. This theme aims at understanding complex dynamic scenes, involving mobile objects and human beings, by exploiting prior knowledge and streams of perceptual data coming from various sensors. To this end, we investigate three complementary research problems:

  • Bayesian Perception: How to take into account prior knowledge and uncertain sensory data in a dynamic context?

  • Situation awareness : How to interpret the perceived scene and to predict their likely future motion (including near future collision risk) ?

  • Robust state estimation: acquire a deep understanding on several sensor fusion problems and investigate their observability properties in the case of unknown inputs.

  • Navigation and Cooperation in Dynamic Environments. This theme aims at designing models and algorithms allowing robots to move and to coordinate efficiently in dynamic environments. We focus on two problems: navigation in human-populated environment (social navigation) and cooperation in large distributed fleet of robots (scalability and robustness issues).

    • Motion-planning in human-populated environment. How to plan trajectories that take into account the uncertainty of human-populated environments and respect the social rules of human beings? Such a challenge requires models of human behavior to be learnt or designed as well as dedicated learning or planning algorithms.

    • Multi-robot decision making in complex environments. How to design models and algorithms that can achieve both scalability and performance guarantees in real-world robotic systems? Our methodology builds upon complementary advantages of two orthogonal approaches, Multi-Agent Sequential Decision Making (MA-SDM) and Swarm Intelligence (SI).

  • Chroma is also concerned with applications and transfer of the scientific results. Our main applications include autonomous and connected vehicles as well as service robotics. They are presented in Sections and , respectively. Chroma is currently involved on many projects in collaboration with automobile companies (including Renault, Toyota and Volvo) and startups.

    Last activity report : 2017