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

Asst. Prof. Matko Orsag at ZEC 2019

LARICS' Matko Orsag took part in the Zagreb Energy Congress - ZEC 2019, organized by the IEEE Student Branch University of Zagreb on 10-14 April, 2019 at our Faculty. He held a lecture titled "Robots in Service of Human Kind" during the Academy Day of the event and told the attending students and listeners about what robots are doing for humans and what they could potentially do in the future, particularly in relation to agriculture and our Specularia project, but also in relation to the energy sector. LARICS was a silver sponsor of this event. You can read the lecture abstract and see a few pictures in the detailed news.

Lecture abstract:

In a world with increasing pollution, organic agriculture is a step forward. By reducing the amount of pesticides and GMO cultures, the amount of human labour with lower yield increases. Human labour in organic agriculture can be replaced with robot labour, so the SPECULARIA project proposes a heterogeneous system which goes beyond existing agricultural robots. This makes this system ideal for family farms. At the same time, this same technology can easily be used in the energy sector, particularly for electroenergetic system surveillance and maintenance.

All pictures are by ZEC 2019:


Author: Anamarija Miličević
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