Funding – 2014

ARGOS Challenge - Autonomous Robots for Gas & Oil Sites

Call funded by TOTAL - managed by ANR

The goal of the ARGOS Challenge is to foster the development of advanced robotic capabilities in oil & gas environments. The programme is based on robot systems which can safely operate in complete or supervised autonomy over the entire onshore or offshore production site, potentially in hazardous explosive atmospheres. The overall objective is to enhance the safety of operators in isolated production sites.

An important issue to be addressed under the ARGOS Challenge is the operation of robots from a remote location in a human engineered environment. Three modes of operation are envisioned:

  • The autonomous operation mode is expected to be used for routine surveillance rounds. In an extreme case, a robot could operate autonomously for up to six weeks in an unmanned production site. It will perform rounds and send reports. A supervisor can access the reports and check the robot-system status at any time, but no direct intervention is required except if an anomaly is detected.
  • The advanced supervision mode is expected to be used for situations where a remote operator requires situational awareness in order to investigate an anomaly. The interaction between the robot-system and the remote operator is expected to be carried out through high-level commands.
  • The assisted teleoperation mode is expected to be used in case of incidents when the remote operators need to perform actions for which the robot system has not been programmed or in a degraded environment. The system is expected to provide assistance functions such as anti-collision and energy-level monitoring.

The capability of operating in challenging environment conditions, including potentially explosive atmospheres, is a fundamental requirement.

A mono robot system, i.e. a single robot with the ability to move between floors is the preferred solution; however a multi-robot system, i.e. one robot per floor, is also eligible. Other approaches such as modular robots can also be considered.

The "Challenge competition" instrument

In the context of the societal challenges, some subjects that are tightly focused on specific objectives justify putting different teams into competition with one another. ANR's "Challenge competition" instrument aims to encourage several teams to work on the same topic while enabling them to compare their respective approaches to a scientific application or question. This instrument enables to encourage creativity through the notion of setting a challenge to different teams on a given topic, and thus foster the definition of reference criteria for the comparison of scientific studies and benchmarks setting.


Following the evaluation process managed by ANR on behalf of TOTAL, 3 to 5 French or foreign teams will participate in a competition framework designed to test the above mentioned modes of operation, which are typical of TOTAL’s operational conditions on site. The performances of the robotic systems will be evaluated in a multi floor environment.

Three editions of the competition will be organised. The first edition will take place one year after the beginning of the programme (kick-off of the selected projects). The second and third editions will be organised 9 and 18 months later, respectively.

ANR was designated by TOTAL to organise and launch the call for proposals, and then manage the evaluation and selection process. On behalf of TOTAL, ANR will set up the evaluation panels and will organise the peer review of proposals.

TOTAL will fund the entire process. The company will fund the selected teams as the outcome of the selection stage, will sign the grant agreements with those teams and will organise the competitions.

Opening : 2013-12-19 at 15:23 CET
Application Deadline : 2014-03-18 at 13:00 CET

Information concerning the submission process


Contacts and further informations

TOTAL website:



ANR Programme Director
Mme Crück Eva

ANR Project Manager
M. Sabarly Loïc



Consult the upcoming and current calls of the portal

The portal centralises all information on calls for proposals and calls for applications from ADEME, ANR, Inserm including ANRS, Anses and INCa. It provides a simplified access to upcoming and ongoing calls, giving a greater visibility to funding opportunities. Following their closing date, the calls remain published for a few months.


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