Members of the consortium

LAAS-CNRS, Gepetto team

Nicolas Mansard (CNRS) is CNRS Resarch Director. He received the MSc in computer science of University of Grenoble in 2003 and the PhD in robotics of University of Rennes in 2006. He was then post-doctoral researcher in Stanford University with O. Khatib in 2007 and in JRL-Japan with A. Kheddar in 2008. He was invited researcher in University of Washington with E. Todorov in 2014. He received the CNRS Bronze Medal in 2015 (one medal is award in France in automatic/robotic/signal-processing every year). He was coordinating French project Entracte that was awarded of the ``Grand Prix du Numerique de l'ANR'' (one price awarded for all French ICT projects over the last 3 years). His main research interests include the motion generation, planning and control of complex robots, with a special regard in humanoid robotics. His expertise covers sensor-based (vision and force) control, numerical mathematics for control, biped locomotion and locomotion planning. He published more than 70 papers in international journals and conferences and supervised 10 PhD thesis. He is the responsible for CNRS of the European Robotic Challenges (EUROC) and the coordinator of the French project Entracte.

Olivier Stasse (CNRS) is a CNRS Research Director in the Gepetto team at LAAS, Toulouse, France. He received the PhD in robotics of University of Paris VI in 2000, and the habilitation of University of Toulouse III in 2013. His main research topic is reactive and vision motivated motion generation for humanoid robotics. He is associate editor at Robotics Automation-Letters and the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics.
He is animating the technical group on humanoid robotics in the French Research Group in Robotics. He is recognized as one of the best experts in Europe for implementation of walking and whole-body behaviors on real full-scale humanoid robots.


  Joan Sola (CNRS) is an associate researcher from IRI Barcelona. He received is PhD in Robotics from Univ. Toulouse in 2007. His research focuses on localization, mapping and state estimation for mobile robots. He is the lead developer of WOLF, an open-source framework upon which the CNRS team is basing the localization of the humanoid robot. He supervised the activities in estimation for the Humanoid experimental setup of the Memmo project. The expertise relevant for the project covers computer vision, inertial measurement, and optimal filtering based on nonlinear optimization.




Thomas Flayols (CNRS) is a PhD candidate at LAAS/CNRS in the Gepetto research team.  He graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (2015) in Embedded Systems and Information Processing. His research focuses on the state estimation and torque control of legged robots. He has a particular interest in analyzing the impact of technology choices on high-level control structures.


Justin Carpentier (INRIA) is a postdoctoral researcher at INRIA Paris in the team of Jean Ponce and Francis Bach. He is a former postdoctoral researcher at LAAS/CNRS in the Gepetto research team. He obtained a PhD in Robotics from Université de Toulouse in 2017. His research lies at the interface between Robotics, Machine Learning, Optimization and Control. It is devoted to the embedding of Optimal Control theory inside the formalism of Machine Learning, with Humanoid Robotics as a main target application.



Hassan Hassan (CNRS) is a research engineer at LAAS-CNRS, IT department. He received his PhD in Computer Science from Toulouse university in 2006 and joined the CNRS in 2008. His activities include project management and IT infrastructure development.



Maximilien Naveau (CNRS) is a research engineer at LAAS-CNRS, in the Gepetto Team. He received his PhD in robotics from the University of Toulouse in 2016 as part of the Gepetto team in LAAS-CNRS. He then joined the group of Ludovic Righetti in the Max planck institute of Intelligen System as a Post-Doc for 5 years. He then joined back the LAAS-CNRS in 2021 to become part of the Memmo Project coordinators and technical support on the humanoid robot in the Gepetto team.


Mederic Fourmy (CNRS) is a recently graduated PhD. He worked inside the Gepetto team.




Philippe Souères (CNRS) is a "Directeur de recherche" in LAAS-CNRS, he is associated to the Univ. of Toulouse.




IDIAP, Robot Learning and Interaction Group

Sylvain Calinon (Idiap) is a Senior Researcher at the Idiap Research Institute, with research interests covering robot learning and human-robot interaction. He is also a lecturer at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), and an external collaborator at the Department of Advanced Robotics (ADVR), Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). From 2009 to 2014, he was a Team Leader at ADVR, IIT. From 2007 to 2009, he was a Postdoc at the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory, EPFL, where he obtained his PhD in 2007. He currently serves as Associate Editor in IEEE Transactions on Robotics (T-RO), IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), Intelligent Service Robotics (Springer), and Frontiers in Robotics and AI. Webpage:


Antonio Paolillo (Idiap) is a post-doc researcher at the Idiap Research Institute. Previously, from 2015 to 2017, he was post-doc at CNRS-UM LIRMM (Montpellier, France). In 2015, he has been a visiting researcher at the CNRS-AIST JRL (Tsukuba, Japan). In the same year, he received his PhD in System Engineering from Sapienza University of Rome (Italy). In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at LIRMM and, in 2010, a visiting student at Örebro University (Sweden). His research interest is focused on robotic control, estimation, physical interaction and learning.


Teguh Santoso Lembono (Idiap) is a PhD candidate at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and a researcher at Idiap Research Institute.  He obtained his Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Nanyang Technological University in 2012, and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from National University of Singapore in 2016. His research interests include machine learning, optimal control and motion planning.



Oxford Robotics Institute, Dynamic Robot Systems Group

Maurice Fallon (Oxford) is a Royal Society Research Fellow at the Oxford Robotics Institute (University of Oxford). His research is focused on probabilistic methods for localization and mapping. He has also made research contributions to state estimation on legged robots and is also interested in high dimensional motion planning and manipulation for walking robots. From 2013-2015 he was the perception lead on MIT's DARPA Robotics Challenge team - a multi-year competition developing technologies for semi-autonomous humanoid exploration and manipulation in disaster situations. He co-leads the Dynamic Robot Systems Group in ORI.

Ioannis Havoutis (Oxford) is a Departmental Lecturer in Robotics at the Department of Engineering Science of the University of Oxford. He is part of the Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI) and a co-lead, of the Dynamic Robot Systems Group. He leads the research direction of robotic legged locomotion as his expertise lies in the design and implementation of algorithms that enable autonomous legged mobility. Previously he worked on learning complex skills by demonstration at the Idiap Research institute, while before he led the locomotion group within the Dynamic Legged Systems lab (HyQ team) at the Department of Advanced Robotics, IIT. His focus is on approaches for dynamic whole-body motion planning and control that allow robots with arms and legs to robustly operate in a variety of challenging domains.


Mathieu Geisert (Oxford) received his M.Eng in Aerospace from Institut Superieur de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace SUPAERO (Toulouse, France) in 2013, and his Ph.D. in Robotics, GEPETTO Group, LAAS-CNRS (Toulouse, France) in 2018. His research interests focus on Optimal Control and Machine Learning for humanoid robots and UAVs.



Wolfgang Merkt (Oxford) is a  a final-year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh focusing on optimal planning and control of high degree of freedom systems in closed-loop interaction with sensory perception supervised by Professor Sethu Vijayakumar. Previously, he completed a MSc by Research with Distinction in Robotics and Autonomous Systems and a 1st Class BEng (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering with Management.
Earlier, he carried out research in industrial robotics applications for small and medium enterprises and. He founded a service robotics research group at the age of 14 developing a full-size kitchen robot and raised six-figure funding to enable high school students to research and participate in international competitions.

Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Movement Generation and Control Group

Ludovic Righetti (MPI) is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the Tandon School of Engineering of New York University and a Senior Researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Tübingen, Germany. He studied at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) where he received an engineering diploma in Computer Science in 2004 and a Doctorate in Science in 2008. Between March 2009 and August 2012, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California. In September 2012 he started the Movement Generation and Control Group at MPI-IS. He joined NYU in September 2017 but is still affiliated with MPI-IS where he leads the ERC StG CONT-ACT and the MEMMO projects. His research focuses on the planning and control of movements for autonomous robots, with a special emphasis on legged locomotion and manipulation but he is more broadly interested in problems at the intersection between decision making, automatic control, optimization, applied dynamical systems and machine learning.

Majid Khadiv (MPI) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Movement Generation and Control Group, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. He received his PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran in 2017. Majid joined the Iranian national humanoid project, Surena III, and worked as the head of dynamics and control group from 2012 to 2015. He also spent one-year of his PhD as a visiting researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. His main research interest is control of robots with contact interaction.



Shahram Khorshidi (MPI) is a master student in Mechatronics at TU Hamburg, currently working as a student intern at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. His research interests are theoretical and empirical aspects of robotics. He is mostly interested in developing and generating control theories with various approaches (MPC, machine learning) for physical interactions of robots such as locomotion and safe and intelligent interactions with humans in different environments, and evaluating these behaviors on real robots.



Elham Daneshmand(MPI) was a research intern at the Movement Generation and Control Group, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. She had a bachelor degree in Computer Science from Tehran Polytechnic University(Amirkabir University of Technology) Tehran, Iran. Currently, Elham is a Ph.D. student at McGill University where her research focuses on Optimal Control and Machine Learning for legged robots.



Ahmad Gazar (MPI) received his B.Sc in Mechatronics Engineering from the German University in Cairo, Egypt in 2011. He received his M.Sc in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in 2018 from La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD at Movement Generation and Control lab at Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tuebingen, Germany. His current research interests are robust trajectory optimization and Model Predictive Control of legged robots.



University of Trento

Andrea Del Prete (UNITN) is a Senior Research Scientist at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Tübingen, Germany. From 2014 to 2017 he has been an associated researcher in the Gepetto team (LAAS-CNRS, Toulouse), where he has been working with the humanoid robot HRP-2. Before going to LAAS he spent four years (3 of PhD + 1 of post-doc) at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT, Genova, Italy), where he worked with Lorenzo Natale and Francesco Nori on the iCub humanoid robot. His research focuses on the use of optimization algorithms for control, planning and estimation of legged robots.



Gianni Lunardi (UNITN) received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering in 2018, and his master’s degree in Mechatronic Engineering in 2021 from the University of Trento, Italy. He is currently a Ph.D. student and his research interests include locomotion of legged robots, model predictive control and obstacle avoidance tasks.



University of Edinburgh, Statistical Machine Learning and Motor Control Group

Professor Sethu Vijayakumar FRSE (UEDIN) holds a Personal Chair in Robotics within the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh and is the Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.  Since 2007, he holds the Senior Research Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering, co-funded by Microsoft Research and is also an Adjunct Faculty of the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles and a Visiting Research Scientist at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Labs, Kyoto-Japan. He has a Ph.D.(1998) in Computer Science and Engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Prof. Vijayakumar previously held the position of the Director of IPAB (2005-2015), Reader (2007-2010) and Lecturer (2003-2007) at the University of Edinburgh, a Research Assistant Professor ('01-'03) at USC and a Staff Scientist ('98-'00) at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Tokyo. His research interest spans a broad interdisciplinary curriculum involving basic research in the fields of robotics, statistical machine learning, motor control, planning and optimization in autonomous systems and computational neuroscience. His latest project (2016) involves a collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Centre on the Valkyrie humanoid robot being prepared for unmanned robotic pre-deployment missions to Mars. See here for a list of his publications [Google Scholar]. Sethu is a keen science communicator and in recent years, has been active in conceptualising, producing and presenting several public outreach events to engage with the general public and children on all things science and engineering. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the winner of the 2015 Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science. He is the judge on the latest edition of BBC Robot Wars, a hugely popular technology show as well as involved with the launch of the BBC micro:bit coding initiative.

Steve Tonneau (UEDIN) is a Lecturer in Robotics at the University of Edinburgh. Previously, he was a post-doctorate in the Gepetto team at LAAS. He defended his Phd in 2015 after 3 years in the INRIA/IRISA Mimetic research team. His research focuses on kinematic motion planning based on the biomechanical analysis of motion invariants. Applications include computer graphics animation as well as robotics. 


Vladimir Ivan (UEDIN) received his Ph.D. on the topic of Motion synthesis in topology-based representations at the University of Edinburgh where he is currently working as a Research Associate in the School of Informatics. He has previously received a M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence specializing in Intelligent Robotics at the University of Edinburgh and a B.Sc. in AI and Robotics from the University of Bedfordshire. Vladimir has published over 20 peer-reviewed papers in top level conferences and journals. He contributed to several UK and EU funded academic research projects as well as industry-led projects with partners within EU and Japan and a collaboration with NASA-JSC.

Daniel Gordon (UEDIN) is a third-year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. Previously, he completed a MSc by Research in Robotics and Autonomous Systems with the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and a 1st Class MMath (Hons) in Mathematics at the University of St Andrews. His research is focused on efficient techniques for analysis, design, and control of assistive robotic devices, particularly lower-limb exoskeletons and prostheses.


Traiko Dinev (UEDIN) is a student within the Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics working on machine learning for control in robotics. His interests include Reinforcement Learning, Control Theory and Optimization and specifically applying them to real-world problems, like robotics. He also has an affinity for Bayesian machine learning and statistics. Specifically, Traiko likes simple and interpretable solutions to machine learning problems; ways of transforming your data so you can see what's going on clearly as well as being able to then run more complex algorithms. He previously completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh in Computer Science and Electronics with a major focus on Machine Learning in the final two years, with his bachelor thesis focusing on Approximate Bayesian Computation.

Thomas Corberes (UEDIN) is a second year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. Previously, he completed a master's degree at the ISAE-SUPAERO engineering school, specializing in autonomous systems. His research focuses on the highly dynamic motions of quadruped robots and includes topics such as motion planning and control.




Carlos Mastalli (UEDIN)  is currently a Robotics Researcher in the Gepetto Team at LAAS-CNRS working on the topic of multi-contact planning and control in legged robots. He received his M.Sc. in Mechatronics, from Simon Bolivar University in 2013, working on a machine learning method for autonomous backhoe machines. After that, he completed his Ph.D. on “Planning and Execution of Dynamic Whole-Body Locomotion on Challenging Terrain” in April 2017 at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. He is also improved significantly the locomotion framework of the HyQ robot. He main motivation is to enable move everywhere. His research pivots around the combination of the optimal control formalism with the beneficts of machine learning in order to unveil an unified, yet tractable, method for legged locomotion.




PAL Robotics

Francesco Ferro (PAL, CEO) <> obtained a MSc degree in Telecommunications Engineering in 2002 at the Politecnico di Torino. He began a PhD in Computer Vision, but left in 2004 to found PAL Robotics. He started working with the development of stereo vision algorithms and later joined the autonomous robot navigation team in order to implement various SLAM algorithms. In 2008, he became the manager of PAL Robotics´ software department. He obtained an MBA at the UB university in Barcelona in 2011 and became CEO of PAL Robotics, in charge of the company's humanoid robot development.



Luca Marchionni (PAL, CTO) obtained his BSc in Control Engineering in 2005 and his MSc in Systems and Control Engineering in 2007, both from the University of Rome La Sapienza. He worked in FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Engineering and Design before joining PAL Robotics in 2009. As Software and Control Engineer he participated in the development of wheeled and biped robots, taking care of dynamic simulations, autonomous navigation and bipedal walking software.
Since 2014, Luca has been the company's Chief Technology Officer, in charge of supervising research and development activities and ensuring that they serve the company's overall business strategy. He is currently also the Project Manager of TALOS, the torque controlled humanoid robot presented in early 2016.


Adrià Roig (PAL) graduated in Mathematics at the University of Barcelona in 2012. In 2015, he received a master's degree in Automatic Control and Robotics at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Adrià Roig joined PAL Robotics in 2016 as Software engineer and he is dedicated to improve and provide new motion generation techniques and motion control algorithms, robot behaviours and applications in the areas of safety, teleoperation and manipulation.



Sarah Terreri (PAL) graduated in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Perugia (Italy) in 2009. In 2010, she obtained a Research Grant in Environmental and Building Physics at the Department of Technical Physics of the Engineering College of Perugia. In 2013 she obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Innovation Management at the University of Barcelona and, in the meantime, she started working in Management and Development of RTD projects. She joined PAL in 2017 as EU project manager and she dedicates on the preparation and submission of proposals to Horizon2020 and other EU or National funding programmes as well as the general management and follow-up of the ongoing projects.



Pierre Fernbach (Toward) received a master's degree in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence at the University Paul Sabatier of Toulouse in 2015. He joined the LAAS-CNRS in Toulouse for a PhD obtained in 2018 followed by a post doctoral position, both focusing on motion planning for bipedal robots and generating dynamic motion in contact with the environment. He joined Toward SaS in 2020 as research engineer where his main focus is to develop and implement robust state of art planning and control methods using all the capabilities of the torque controlled Talos robot.




Antonio El Khoury (WAN, CEO) is a PhD in Robotics and Computer Science, graduate of Mines ParisTech. Antonio is a robotic mobility enthusiast, with 10+ years experience in robotics, control systems and the medical device industry. His research focused on planning optimal motions for bipedal robots. His mission in Wandercraft is to bring extraordinary products to extraordinary people with lower limb disabilities and help them lead an ordinary life.



Stanislas Brossette (WAN) graduated from École Normale Supérieure de Cachan, France in 2011, with the MS degree of Computational Mechanics.
He then obtained the Ph.D. degree in Robotics in 2016 from the Université de Montpellier, France after spending four years with the LIRMM/CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan.
His research interests include multi-contact whole-body posture generation, numerical optimization and perception for robotics.
He joined the Dynamic Walk team in WanderCraft in 2018, and since then strives to design and improve the walk algorithms used to make extraordinary people with lower limb disabilities walk again in a physiological way with the Atalante exoskeleton.


Nicolas Simon (WAN) graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in 2012 with an MSc in Electrical Engineering and from Imperial College, MSc in Artificial Intelligence, Nicolas founded Wandercraft in 2012. Wandercraft has grown into a 100 person company, releasing its first product in 2019 in Europe, Atalante which is the most advanced exoskeleton for rehabilitation. Nicolas is currently working on bringing the personal version of this exoskeleton to market.




Sébastien BORIA (Airbus Defence and Space) is a model Integrated computing architect. He has a training in Mecatronics, Robotics and Intelligent Systems.



Noëlie RAMUZAT (Airbus) is Robotics Engineer at Airbus. She graduated her PhD from the INSA Toulouse after her engineering degree from ENSTA Bretagne. Her main interest lies in the control of legged robots.



Tim Embley (COSTAIN)
Group Research & Innovation Director, responsible for Costain Group Strategic Research & Innovation programme working in collaboration with our clients and partners to accelerate new solutions to market to improve societal outcomes.

Gabriel Durojaye (COSTAIN)
Digital Innovation Leader developing and deploying smart infrastructure solutions across various industries, by successfully merging innovation with engineering, enabled by digital technologies.

James Mercer (COSTAIN)
Project Manager within the Digital Innovation team at Costain, implementing innovative technologies which help shape and
evolve businesses.


Shakil Ahmed (COSTAIN)
Digital Innovation Project Manager working with SMEs and Research institutes on innovation projects and grant funding proposals.



Daniel Arey (COSTAIN) Project Management Graduate - seconded to the Costain Digital Innovation Team to assist with innovation projects, process digitalisation, and grant funding proposals.