Aerial Physical Contact and Manipulation: Full-Actuation and Beyond

Antonio Franchi

Abstract:  In the first part of this talk I will present our fully-actuated designs and methods for increasing the stability and performance in aerial tasks involving physical contact and manipulation. When properly mastered, full actuation confers a superior level of accuracy and robustness to the physical task execution, when compared to standard platforms with an underactuated base. Our group has been an early promoter of fully-actuated aerial platforms for physical contact and manipulation. Full actuation has since then been adopted as one of the most powerful way to face many of the challenges of aerial physical interaction.However, several challenges remain still to be addressed in the field. In the second part of my talk I will introduce and briefly discuss some of them, and in particular the ones related to the extended capabilities, energy efficiency, and human physical interaction.

Bio: Antonio Franchi ( is a Tenured Researcher of CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research, one of the world’s leading research institutions ( He is based at LAAS-CNRS (RIS team) in Toulouse.

From 2010 to 2013 he was a  Research Scientist and then a Senior Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany, and the scientific leader of the group ‘Autonomous Robotics and Human-Machine Systems’.

He received the HDR (French Professorial Habilitation) from the National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse, the Ph.D. degree in Control and System Theory and master degree in Electronic Engineering from the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. He was a visiting scholar at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

His main research interests in robotics are motion control, estimation,  hardware design, and human-machine systems. His main areas of expertise are aerial robotics and multi-robot systems. He published more than 130 articles in international journals, conferences, and books, and in 2010 he was awarded with the ‘IEEE RAS ICYA Best Paper Award’ for one of his works on Multi-robot Exploration.

He is a IEEE Senior Member and Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics. He has been Associate Editor of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine (2013 to 2016) and the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine (2015).

He is a co-chair of the IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Multi-Robot systems (450+ members), which he co-founded in 2014, and was the recipient of the IEEE RAS most active TC Award 2018.

He co-funded and was the program co-chair of the IEEE-sponsored biannual International Symposium on Multi-robot and Multi-agent Systems (MRS 2017 in Los Angeles, MRS 2019 in New Brunswick).  
He is currently coordinator of the ANR MuRoPhen project (2018-2021), the CNRS PI of the AEROARMS EU H2020 project (2015-2019), coordinator of the MBZIRC 2020 LAAS team project (2018-2020), and co-coordinator of the FlyCrane Occitanie Pre-Maturation project (2019-2020). He has also a prominent role in the ANR Flying Co-Worker project (2019-2022) and the PRO-ACT EU H2020 project (2019-2021). In the past, he also participated to the ARCAS EU FP7 (2014-2010) project. 

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