In the current state of the art, motions realized on humanoid robots usually alternate between fixed contacts with the environment. Fixed contacts have been sufficient to describe a number of scenarios, including walking. Yet, they also impose strong restrictions on the range of motions that humanoid robots can realize.
Imagine humans climbing a steep staircase: when a ramp is available, they are likely to keep a hand sliding on it, increasing their overall stability with the ability to squeeze the ramp whenever necessary. Far from this, in current stair climbing experiments, robots are grasping the ramp at predefined locations (see e.g. references  and ), resulting in slow and overly conservative (hence power-consuming) motions. The reason for this conservative behavior is that non-fixed contact "modes" (for instance, sliding contacts) are not handled in the state-of-the-art of humanoid robotics today.
The goal of the successful PhD candidate will be to develop this new capability. In this endeavor, s/he will design new contact models and control software that will be tested on the HRP-4 humanoid robot used in our group (see the team's YouTube channel for videos).
The IDH team is part of the CNRS–UM Montpellier Laboratory of Computer Science, Robotics, and Microelectronics, Montpellier, France. It works in close collaboration with the CNRS–AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory (JRL) located in Tsukuba, Japan, with which frequent exchanges of people, know-how and software take place. As part of the team, the candidate will be surrounded by a group with strong expertise in humanoid motion planning and control, where we value both theoretical developments and their application to the real robot. Our team collaborates closely with Airbus Group as part of the COMANOID project. In the course of the PhD, the candidate will therefore interact with practical scenarios expected to have a strong return in the years to come.
Ladder climbing  performed at CNRS–AIST JRL on the HRP-2(Kai) humanoid.
Send an e-mail to Stéphane CARON to introduce yourself. Make sure you include a motivation letter and updated CV.
Admission to the PhD program is competitive and follows the schedule below.
The PhD contract would begin on October 1st, 2018 for a duration of 3 years. Salary is 1786€ gross monthly (~1430€ net). Medical insurance is included.