Project name: Structured Ecological CULtivation with Autonomous Robots In Agriculture
Project acronym: SPECULARIA
Dates: 01.06.2018 - 31.05.2023
Total budget: 1,794,905.62 HRK
Funding: Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ)
Project number: UIP-2017-05-4042
Website: http://specularia.fer.hr/

This project deals with concepts of compliant robot control, soft robotics, and heterogeneous robotic systems 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


A very successful charity event

On Wednesday, 19th December, we held a fund-raising event for the Autism Association Zagreb, where the robots from our Laboratory worked together to serve the visitors with chocolate waffles, brownies and tea or mulled wine. This exciting event was visited by over 2000 people and some 700 orders were taken and served, which resulted in the amazing amount of over 13 thousand kuna (almost €2000) in donations, all of which will be given to the Autism Association Zagreb. We would like to give our gratitude to everyone who took part in this great event and wish everyone happy holidays!

Author: Anamarija Miličević
Christmas fund-raiser at our faculty

The famous Christmas market in Zagreb has just become one interesting event richer: On Wednesday, 19th December, 10-16h, visitors of UNIZG-FER will have the opportunity to enjoy mulled wine, tea and brownies or waffles, which are special because they will be served by - robots! This unusual event is organized by us and the brand robotics@fer.hr with the goal of raising funds for the Autism Association Zagreb. We hereby invite you to join us at this unusual and exciting event!

Author: Anamarija Miličević
Our new robot arm has arrived!

Our new robotic arm for the project Specularia has recently arrrived at our Lab! This is great news for the project, as it means that our colleagues will now be able to continue working on new research and ideas. This compliant multi-degree-of-freedom manipulator has the task of performing delicate handling of plants, such as flower and fruit manipulation, and plant pruning. It will work together with two more robots in a robotic system which consists of the arm, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV). Together, they will be able to accomplish many things!

Author: Anamarija Miličević
We presented five new projects at a...

On 15th October, prof. Stjepan Bogdan and Matko Orsag presented five new projects developed in our Lab at a scientific symposium “New research projects at UNIZG-FER”. They have presented recently started projects: AeRoTwinENCOREMBZIRC, SPECULARIA, and ENDORSE. At the symposium, the emphasis was put on possibilities of cooperation with economic operators as well as job opportunities on projects from young professionals and experienced researchers.

Author: Alan Vukić
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