François Pomerleau

Title: From subarctic to subterranean environments
Subtitle: How to push boundaries through field robotics?

Abstract: As the promise of autonomous cars keeps being delayed, more and more questions are raised about the accessibility of this technology in remote locations. Moreover, extreme meteorological events are rising with the concretization of climate change. This new reality stresses the importance of the robustness of navigation algorithms against harsh environmental conditions.

In an era of simulations and augmented datasets, this presentation will focus on our efforts in facing complex environments through field robotics. Field robotics is a sub-community of researchers challenging theoretical simplifications with experimental work closer to real applications. We will give an overview of our latest scientific results, emphasizing lessons learned related to lidar-based mapping, navigation in subarctic conditions, and subterranean exploration.

Biography: François Pomerleau made his debut in research by interacting with the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency during his studies in computer engineering at Sherbrooke University. He got his Master’s degree (François Michaud’s Lab) from this university in 2009 after a one-year stay at EPFL (Roland Siegwart Lab – Switzerland) where he worked on an autonomous car prototype. He completed his Ph.D. at ETH Zurich (Roland Siegwart’s Lab- Switzerland) in 2013 during which he participated in several robotic deployments in uncontrolled environments, including work with European fire brigades and in alpine lakes. After technology transfer activities at Alstom Inspection Robotics and a stay at Laval University (Philippe Giguère’s Lab), he received a postdoctoral fellowships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to continue his research at the University of Toronto in Mobile Robotics (Tim Barfoot’s Lab). He continued his technological transfer activities as a postdoctoral researcher at Laval University in the Robotics Laboratory (Clément Gosselin’s lab) and worked, in collaboration with the Robotiq company, to develop the Industry 4.0. Since September 2017, he is a professor in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Laval University. His research interests include 3D reconstruction of environments using laser data, autonomous navigation, search and rescue activities, environmental monitoring, trajectory planning and scientific methodology applied to robotics.