November 24, 2020

A Robotics Application in Agriculture

An important challenge in viticulture is the effective treatment application in steep slope vineyards; such vineyards account for 10% – 12% of European viticulture land area and produce some of the highest value wines. Current practices use air-blast systems for treatment application, with high solution losses and significant ground compaction.
An ideal solution would be the usage of a smaller robot-based system that can access these steep slope vineyards and selectively apply pesticides / fungicides to individual plants.


The solution
The solution

How ahedd Helped in This Case – The Solution

The role of ahedd

Two ahedd partners, the Institute of Informatics & Telecommunications (IIT) of NCSR Demokritos and SCiO, collaborate in iRTA, an ambitious experiment funded by the Horizon 2020 ESMERA (European SMEs for Robotic Applications) project Open Call programme, to produce a robotic platform able to face the challenges of the described use case.

The solution

The iRTA robotic platform will combine the following four core functional components:
• a flexible and modular robotic platform, which is based on an All-Terrain Vehicle able to move efficiently into the harsh agricultural environment (including steep slopes), having compact design and achieving small ground compaction.
• a new autonomous localization, navigation, and obstacle avoidance system developed by NCSR-IIT and based on sophisticated environment exploration and situation awareness, allowing the robot to plan and implement an optimal path and to safely operate in the presence of human workers.
• a high-precision sprayer component that involves a small capacity tank (approx. 70 lt), a pump for optimum agitation and pressure operating, as well as, drift reduction nozzles that minimize the off-target application.
• an on-board Artificial Intelligent (AI) component developed by SCiO that analyses plant images in real-time as the robot traverses the field and decides on the application of treatment for individual plants and/or specific parts of them.

Other areas of application

The solutions provided by SCiO and NCSR-IIT can be applied individually and in combination in multiple precision agriculture use cases for the actuation of different operations related to broader agricultural practices (irrigation, fertilization) and the automation of field monitoring using autonomous robotic systems for image collection and analysis.

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