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

The Future of Agriculture in the EU

Asst. Prof. Matko Orsag was invited to be a speaker in the panel discussion titled "The Future of Agriculture in the EU" organized by the Economics Clinic (Ekonomska klinika) as part of the "My voice in the EU" ("Moj glas u EU") event, held on 24 and 25 April 2019 in Zagreb. Together with other speakers at the panel discussion, he talked about his research field, particularly the Specularia project and the application of robotics in agriculture, as well as about future plans, trends and expectations in agricultural sciences and practical applications. Together the speakers answered the listeners' questions. More info on the event can be found here.

 Photos courtesy of Ekonomska klinika:


Author: Anamarija Miličević
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