Olivier Orfila, new scientific director of the VEDECOM Institute

Olivier Orfila has been appointed Scientific Director and Director of Development and Training at ITE VEDECOM. An engineer from ISAT (Institut Supérieur de l’Automobile et des Transports), he has a doctorate and is qualified to direct research at the University of Evry Paris Saclay. He has developed a multidisciplinary vision of mobility and its challenges.

Oliver Orfila was previously deputy director of the LIVIC (autonomous vehicle) laboratory from 2015 to 2020 and then PICS-L (mobility from a multidisciplinary perspective) from 2020 to 2022 at the Gustave Eiffel University, in laboratories located near the mobiLAB in Versailles.

He joined VEDECOM on 21 March 2022, and according to him, his three new functions – science, development and training – form a “virtuous triptych” that he particularly likes.


An interdisciplinary vision to support the energy transition

Convinced of the relevance of cross-fertilisation of disciplines from the very first phases of conception and definition of research questions, he co-directed the development of the LIVIC and PICS-L scientific projects. His work focused on the problems of vehicle energy consumption, the automation of functions to limit it and the understanding of eco-responsible driver behaviour.


Entrepreneurship and training as a result of research

As an entrepreneur, in 2008 he created a start-up company offering driver monitoring in natural conditions for the insurance sector. He also supported the emergence of the Stanley Robotics startup in the valet parking sector.

Lastly, passionate about transmitting knowledge and much appreciated by his students, he is involved in several courses: either with academic partners such as the University of Evry Paris Saclay, or ENSTA and IFPSchool, or with professionals such as Renault Group.


Knowledge of the challenges of mobility on an international scale

Internationally, he has been the scientific leader of numerous European research projects such as ecoDriver, GamECAR and Trustonomy. He has been a laureate of two Hubert Curien Partnerships with Australia and China where he was an associate professor at Tongji University in Shanghai from 2016 to 2022. Finally, he was an expert for ACEA (The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) on the subject of CO2 emissions reduction and an expert for the Ministry of Ecology on driving automation in China.


“I have found a dynamic and very professional teams at VEDECOM. They know how to take into account environmental issues and the final needs of the market and users. In the coming months, our objective is to co-construct answers to these new mobility needs, to accelerate the transfer of research results to the industrial world”.

Eric Lebeau appointed CEO of VEDECOM

Versailles, October 4,  2021

The French Institute for the Energy Transition VEDECOM, created in 2014 and dedicated to the future mobility, more ecological, autonomous and shared, appointed a new CEO: Eric Lebeau, from Renault group, succeeds Philippe Watteau. He will take up his functions on November 1, 2021.

As VP for Research & Advanced Engineering and Partnership & Public Funding Eric Lebeau was already a member of VEDECOM governing Board and actively involved in the Bureau since early 2020. The governing Board, chaired by Tony Jaux (from Stellantis and PFA – Plateforme Française de l’Automobile), selected his candidacy to succeed Philippe Watteau, CEO for the past three years, on September 10. Eric Lebeau will take office on November 1st..

About Eric Lebeau

An engineer graduated from the Ecole des Mines of Saint-Etienne, Eric Lebeau has gained solid experience in R&D management and in piloting development projects thanks to a very transversal career within the Renault Group. His career has enabled him to lead French and international teams towards the accomplishment of complex missions and projects, in all contexts relating to engineering: management of development projects, implementation of quality systems and tools and methods. engineering, R&D funding, strategic management.

Eric Lebeau accomplished the first part of his career in the field of information technology. Appointed as Chief Information Officer of the commercial vehicles engineering subsidiary (1,200 people), he also manages the document production service and contributes to the industrial start-up of several vehicles at Renault and partner sites. He then progresses to the direction of the vehicle development project. After a transition to Group engineering methods, he is entrusted with the management of high-end vehicle programs in the production-series phase, then the management of the “Smart fortwo 2015” project (gasoline and electric car for two persons), in a Renault – Daimler/Smart cooperation. He covers the entire development project : from the framing of the Product with the Marketing team, to the production of a vehicle combining economy, performance and quality.

He joins Group engineering management teams as VP Strategic PMO (Project Management Office), in charge of managing the portfolio of programs under development, orchestrating the synchronization of projects, the allocation of resources and means. He builds and deploys the Group Strategic Plan to increase efficiency and engineering capacities.

Finally, he turns towards the future of mobility as Director of Research and Advanced Engineering Partnerships and Public Funding. He covers all technological topics, in particular digitization, connectivity, autonomous vehicles, MaaS and electrification. He also represents the Renault Group at several French and European research institutes and associations such as EUCAR, ERTRAC in Europe, or the CNRS and ANRT in France. This function naturally leads him to support VEDECOM.


A renewed support to VEDECOM to meet new challenges

Despite a deep health and economic crisis, the Institute has mobilized to maintain a dynamic of innovation, with the reaffirmed support of industrialists, State, communities and academic partners.

Eric Lebeau said: “In a rapidly changing world of mobility, we need a systemic approach. An institute such as VEDECOM has a real role to play as the meeting point, the catalyst and trusted third party between the actors of different branches: automotive, energy, infrastructure, telecom, digital… I will pursue the consolidation of our ecosystem and extend collaborations on key R&D topics for the ecological transition, in order to put the team France and the team Europe a way ahead on carbon-free mobility of the future.

VEDECOM is currently carrying out approximately thirty French and European collaborative R&D projects, including 13 projects half-funded by the PIA (Investir l’Avenir Program) via the French ANR (Agence Nationale de Recherche). It drives innovation through uses and technology and brings breakthrough innovations for electric motorization, new generation and contactless charging, 5G and connectivity, data, AI on and automated vehicle.



The VEDECOM Institute is a public-private partnership foundation for the Energy Transition (French ITE) dedicated to sustainable and innovative mobility, more ecologic, autonomous and shared. It is missioned by the French State to support technological innovation and French industry. Based on an unprecedented collaboration more than 50 players, it gathers academic establishments, local authorities and private actors involved in mobility evolution: automotive, transport and mobility, logistics, road infrastructure, telecommunications, energy, aeronautics and defence, digital services and simulation, insurance.

This trusted third-party central role helps its members to accelerate together innovation and the deployment of new solutions. Threw three multidisciplinary R&D axes – electrification, connected and automated vehicle, new mobility and energy solutions – VEDECOM brings a systemic vision of the vehicle, its environment and the deployment of new solutions. Created in 2014 as part of the “Investing in the Future Programme”. VEDECOM belongs to French Institutes of Technology association involving 15 research institutes and contributes to the “Self-driving Vehicle Plan” that forms part of the New Industrial France project (NFI). VEDECOM is attached to Paris Saclay University.


Press contact

Juliette Duault – juliette.duault@vedecom.fr – + 33 6 88 72 79 26

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VEDECOM a glance

Main R&D Projects in 2021