Elie Gautreau

Biomimetic synthesis for bio-inspired robotics: application to undulatory snake drone swimming

Studying snakes and taking precise measurements of their movements to qualify and quantify the energy efficiency of their swimming is an important step. Testing the impact of changes in kinematic parameters requires obedience on their part, which is impossible. The envisaged solution is the use of a bio-inspired snake drone, reproducing the undulatory swimming of biological snakes. Such a biomimetic robot is a tool developed by roboticists for biologists and is used in a feedback loop to test biological hypotheses.

Thus, my PhD project aims at developing a complex mechatronic system by biomimicry linking wave kinematics to the performance and efficiency of snake swimming. The aim is both to contribute to the constitution of a large collection of kinematics using precise recordings, and to develop an optimal biomimetic method allowing the improvement of the design of more energy-efficient drones. In the long term, this project should enable collaboration between roboticists and industrialists involved in the development of bio-inspired snake drones. Also, biomimicry could be integrated into higher education curricula in the years to come by including the growing importance of bio-inspired processes and technologies.

This thesis will have three main objectives. (1) To conduct a kinematic study of the volumetric swimming of biological snakes through a campaign of motion capture and video measurements. (2) To develop the kinematics of a bio-inspired module and exploit it in the realization of a multi-module bio-inspired snake. (3) To develop and integrate the control of the robot by reproducing the snakes’ swimming mechanisms in a faithful and reliable way for the scientists.
PhD student in the CoBRA team (2021-2024).

Supervisors: Med Amine Laribi (CoBRA), Xavier Bonnet (CEBC)
Doctoral school: SIMME (University of Poitiers).
Funders: ANR DRAGON 2
Mail : elie.gautreau(at)univ-poitiers.fr