SPECULARIA project

Project name: Structured Ecological CULtivation with Autonomous Robots In Agriculture
Project acronym: SPECULARIA
Dates: 01.09.2018 - 31.08.2021
Total budget: 1,794,905.62 HRK
Funding: Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ)
Project number: UIP-2017-05-4042
 

This project deals with concepts of compliant robot control, soft robotics, and heterogeneous robotic system and utilizes them to help farmers in indoor organic agriculture.

The main goal is to develop a heterogeneous robotic system comprised of three agents: an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), and a compliant multi-degree-of-freedom manipulator. The UAV is equipped with a lightweight multi-degree-of-freedom manipulator carrying sensors for plant surveillance. The manipulator enables the UAV to fly outside the danger area, where its prop wash wind gust can damage the plant. The UGV is equipped with a mechanism that allows it to transport growth unit containers, which are the smallest organization unit within the farm, consisting of a single or variety of plants. The compliant manipulator’s task is to perform delicate handling of plants, such as flower and fruit manipulation, and plant pruning. Each robot has a specific set of abilities, but when put to work together, they can be applied to achieve versatile goals in an unstructured environment, which an indoor organic farm most certainly is.

UAV with manipulator for inspection

Compliant manipulator for plant treatment

UGV for container transport


New scientific project on ecological...

The project Structured Ecological CULtivation with Autonomous Robots In Agriculture - SPECULARIA is a new five-year-long project that deals with concepts of compliant robot control, soft robotics, and heterogeneous robotic system and utilizes them to help farmers in indoor organic agriculture. The project is sponsored by the Croatian Science Foundation. The project has started on June 1st, 2018. 

 

In this project, a proposed heterogeneous robotic system has the potential to make the products of organic agriculture less expensive, and in turn more accessible to a wider population. The proposed system goes beyond the current state of the art, in a sense that it proposes a system comprised of small robots with specific abilities that can execute certain tasks only when they are introduced to work together. The key issue in dealing with sensitive plants is to ensure the necessary compliance from the manipulator motion. This will ensure the robot can execute certain tasks without harming the plant. This requirement also fits within the Soft robotics paradigm, that focuses on researchers to build better sensing machines, capable of dexterous human-like motion. Testing the robots on such a challenging application, represents an interesting research opportunity that will certainly lead to new results in a rapidly expanding field of research.

Author: Ivana Mikolić
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