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.