Inaugural Prix BlueBotics for Excellence in Robotics Awarded at EPFL
The Prix BlueBotics recognises a Master’s Student at EPFL who has demonstrated excellence in, and contributed to the advancement of scientific or technical research in the field of robotics.
The award was presented by BlueBotics CEO, Dr. Nicola Tomatis, who commented: “After studying computer science in Zurich, I gained my doctorate in robotics here at EPFL in the Microtechnology department.”
“My personal connection to EPFL as well as the very strong connection that BlueBotics has with the school motivated us to launch this BlueBotics prize which is being awarded for the first time.”
“BlueBotics is an EPFL spin-off founded in 2001, which initially developed at the innovation park, and which is today right next door, in St-Sulpice. Our company develops and markets a navigation system that makes industrial vehicles completely autonomous, for example industrial pallet trucks.”
The inaugural winner of the Prix BlueBotics was Filip Slezak. His paper, A First Step Towards Autonomous Multi-Modal Navigation Onboard the M4 Robot – Hybrid UGV/UAV, was supervised by Professor Colin Jones. The project took place in Caltech and Northeastern University in the United States. The objective of the thesis was to extend the M4 multimodal platform to operate via on-board sensors.
The jury commented that the student demonstrated an exemplary ability to conduct experiments, particularly in an indoor environment where he successfully allowed the robot to roll while avoiding obstacles. Additionally, it implemented a multimodal planning framework that involved a complex combination of driving and flight phases for the robot. One of his main contributions was the porting of all software to the M4 robot.
His supervisors at CalTech note that this student not only has excellent technical acumen, but also is entrepreneurial. Indeed, he encountered many unexpected challenges, but he always found innovative solutions to overcome them.
The work he provided was not only of high quality, but also allowed the laboratory to define the next steps for the project. His ability to work independently, identify problems and seek expert advice was outstanding.
In fact, two articles that included aspects of the student’s work were recently published.
We at BlueBotics applaud Filip for his achievement, and wish him all the best in his future career.
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