Industrial doctorate pilot programme stay in Lausanne, at the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory (LASA) of the École Politechnique Fédérales de Lausanne (EPFL)
My name is Jordi Bautista and I recently completed an industrial doctorate in Computer Vision and Robotics. My international stay took place in Lausanne (Switzerland) in one of the world's best universities, the École Politechnique Fédérales de Lausanne (EPFL). The reason behind my stay at the laboratory of Prof. Billard, Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory (LASA), was to test my research based on the recognition of imitation learning actions in robots, which I carried out for two and a half years in an internationally recognised research centre. The main objective was to work in a multicultural and multidisciplinary environment and learn development techniques in a world-class laboratory. My work was supervised by Prof. Aude Billard, world-renowned for his contributions to robotics and in particular to the field of imitation learning.
During my three months at the laboratory, data on everyday kitchen tasks were obtained by recording not only the kinetic and dynamic information given by the robot, thanks to its force and motion sensors, but also visual information, thanks to two first- and second-generation RGB-D cameras. The recognition algorithm developed during the last two and a half years of my research was improved, and this action recognition motor was applied to the data for task segmentation and to extract the labels of the subactions represented by the task as a whole.
Thanks to my stay I was able to test the research carried out as a part of my doctorate in a second industrial project. In addition to the VinBot project, carried out by the company Ateknea Solutions, to which this industrial doctorate was tied, the applicability and versatility of the research was proven through another project known as RoboHow.
In terms of working environment, I would like to highlight the professionalism shown by LASA, with a clearly delineated line of research in which a strong work team continuously develops new research. This allows them to stay at the forefront at a global level, being awarded various projects and serving as a unique benchmark constantly sought out for new partnerships. As a result of this doctoral stay, the group Intelligent Robots and Computer Vision of Rovira i Virgili University (URV), which I have been associated with during the three years of my doctorate, is studying the integration of new learning algorithms for robots using the conceptual framework of my thesis and is establishing synergies to be able to continue working with the EPFL.
Furthermore, I would like to point out the personal and professional growth I attained through this stay. Certain skills which were used to a lesser or greater extent have been enhanced, bringing special added value to myself as a student and as a person.
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the city of Lausanne and the country of Switzerland itself, which were idyllic spots for a mountain-lover such as myself. A place where my two passions, robotics and mountains, have converged. Nothing is perfect, but if you are able to see all the good it has for you and the project, the experience will be practically perfect.