Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-46 : Responsible automation for safe co-habitation with humans in the frame of sharing control between supervisor and mobile robots

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    Université Gustave Eiffel
    Computer scienceCybernetics
    EngineeringControl engineering
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Versailles
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND



The augmentation of the automation degree of systems present in the day-to-day life make us formulate questions on ethical issues (see Rahwan et al. 2019 [1]), for example concerning decisions of actions from these systems in situations of extreme urgency and risk. The case the more commented concerns probably the decision that shall take an automated vehicle in a situation where the choice relies between only two alternatives of accidents causing a death (for example, one person on the road or the passenger in the car - see e.g. Bonnefon et al [2]). Facing this, alternative approaches need to be proposed. For the philosopher J. V. Hoven [3], it is notably the role of engineers to design the systems to avoid the possibility of moral dilemmas. This thought constitutes the central idea of this thesis project.


The goal of the work is then to study how to optimize the interaction between human and autonomous systems to avoid the occurrence of such dilemmas.

We are in particular interested in the evolution in the public space of a swarm of supervised autonomous robots. The supervisor can actuate by teleoperation on one of the robots (the leader) to change its position [4]. Here, the interaction between humans and autonomous robots has two distinct forms: the first one concerns the interaction between the swarm and the pedestrians; the second concerns the interaction between the swarm and supervisor. The goal is then to conceive a safe configuration in harmony with humans, and not to center only on the unique optimization of the number of robots and the trajectories to accomplish the task goal.

Notably, we propose to construct our technological approach on the comprehension of cognitive mechanisms involved in the cooperation between humans and machines actually being studied by our team (by colleagues in psychology). This, in order to: 1) Identify the signals to send by autonomous systems to facilitate the coordination with human operators that are in the proximity. 2) To take into account the movement of humans in the robots trajectories. 3) To ensure an optimal task sharing between autonomous robots and supervisor in the control task. Indeed, the couple ‘scenarios’/’trajectories for these scenarios’ shall allow the supervisor to be able to manage the swarm through the leader in an ethical way for contributing to the whole system safety.


If recent works ([5], [6] and [7]) treat certain criteria on mobile robots « conscious » of groups of humans, the sharing task between supervisor and robots is not yet in our knowledge studied in this context. Indeed, a supervisor can bring a fundamental anticipatory element. Other criteria as taking into account the human reaction in the robot control could for example improve the actual algorithms.


The social impacts comes directly: Human is protected while robots accomplish their tasks. Economic impacts depend on the tasks the robots will accomplish (rescue, cleaning, exploration, etc.)


Before studying the problem, we start by the configuration in [4] to precise a ‘starting’ scenario. Elements as the type of robots, its sensors, the admissible speeds compatible with the capacities of a human supervisor, and the low level algorithms of the robots, like the control of the wheel slip for an optimal braking will be defined. The investigation itself will be structured in two different works: 1) the study of the sharing control task between supervisor and autonomous robots and 2) the development of the robot algorithms introducing human studies knowledge. Precise scenarios will be defined on the basis of a set of defined risk criteria.


1) Simulation platform developed as a collaboration between the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) and the Univ. Gustave Eiffel [4]. 2) Mobile robot from the GRETTIA laboratory. 3) Open source algorithms for trajectory control [7].


[1] Rahwan, I., Cebrian, M., Obradovich, N., Bongard, J., Bonnefon, J. F., Breazeal, C., ... & Wellman, M. (2019). Machine behaviour. Nature, 568(7753), 477-486.

[2] Bonnefon, J. F., Shariff, A., & Rahwan, I. (2016). The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles. Science, 352(6293), 1573-1576.

[3] Hoven, J. V. (2011) Engineering and the Problem of Moral Overload. Science and Engineering Ethics 18(1):143-55. DOI: 10.1007/s11948-011-9277-z.

[4] Tchilian, R.S., Franco Moreno, U., Netto, M. (2020) Assisted Teleoperation for a Human-Swarm Interaction System. IFAC Papers on Line, 53(5), 602-607. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ifacol.2021.04.150

[5] Truong, Xuan-Tung, Ngo, Trung Dung Toward Socially Aware Robot Navigation in Dynamic and Crowded Environments: A Proactive Social Motion Model. (2017) IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, 14(4).

[6] G. Ferrer, A. Garrell and A. Sanfeliu (2013), Social-aware robot navigation in urban environments, European Conference on Mobile Robots, pp. 331-336, doi: 10.1109/ECMR.2013.6698863.

International Mobility:

A 6-month secondment at Federal university of Santa Catarina (Brazil).

For more information, contact the PhD thesis supervisor.



More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.


Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.

  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  •  Support service is available during every step of the application process by email: clear-doc@univ-eiffel.fr


Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Computer science: Master Degree or equivalent
    Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent
    FRENCH: Basic


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Specific Requirements

  • The candidate shall have solid knowledge on robotics and control.
  • A strong competence in programming, notably in ROS environement is also fundamental. Curiosity and open mind are appreciated.
  • A 6-month secondment at Federal university of Santa Catarina (Brazil). For more information, contact the PhD thesis supervisor.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
25 Allée des Marronniers

EURAXESS offer ID: 716893


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