A Learning Aerial Guide for the Elderly and Disabled

About the project

Robotic assistants can greatly improve the life of the ever-increasing elderly and disabled population. However, current efforts in assistive robotics are focused on ground robots and manipulators in controlled, indoor environments. AIRGUIDE will break away from this by exploiting unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and their versatile motion capabilities. Specifically, the project will develop aerial assistive technology for independent mobility of an elderly or disabled person over a wide, outdoor area, via monitoring risks and guiding the person when needed. Our fundamental approach is to develop a novel learning and planning control framework, by exploiting interdisciplinary, artificial-intelligence and control-theoretic insights. The framework will be implemented and validated in a case study where an at-risk person is monitored over e.g. a park, warned about risks like falling and unsafe areas, and actively guided to safety or a desired destination when required.

The project is funded under the Young Teams program of the Romanian Authority for Scientific Research, via UEFISCDI (project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0670, contract number 9/2018). It takes place at the Automation Department of the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, for a duration of two years and a total budget of about 100 000 EUR.


  • Lucian Busoniu, principal investigator (professor, PhD Eng), manages the project and focuses on fundamental research aspects related to learning and planning.
  • Tamas Levente (associate professor, PhD Eng) focuses on application-related aspects and on handling the uncertain behavior of the human.
  • Alexandru Codrean (postdoc; lecturer) works on control design for the UAV.
  • Ioana Lal (MSc student; recently started a PhD project) focuses on the validation of control techniques in simulation.
  • Daniel Mezei (PhD student) focuses on the implementation of control techniques.

Get in touch with the team members or email the PI at lucian [at] busoniu [dot] net.

See also the publications resulting from the project, as well as the international network and researcher exchanges contributing to it, and other impact the project is having. The administrative info page contains more detailed logistical information such as progress reports.