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Agricultural robots in the agri-PV environment

Track: Agri-Food

Date and Time: 13 Mar 2024 12:00-13:20, room Marina

Organisers: Dario Mengoli, Luigi Manfrini, Alba Perez Gracia, David Caballero Flores

Main questions to be answered – Q1: What are the recent advancements in the orchard automation?

Main questions to be answered – Q2: What could be the role of robotics in the agri-PV environment?

Main questions to be answered – Q3: What is the TRL of innovative mobile or distributed sensors development for monitoring?

Workshop Description: Robotics and automation are steadily gaining prominence across various industries, and one of the sectors poised to reap significant benefits from these technological advancements is agriculture. These innovations have the potential to revolutionize farming practices by enhancing efficiency, productivity, and the overall quality of crops. In this context, photovoltaics (PV) is widely seen as one of the key technologies to drive the energy transition. Agrivoltaics (agri-PV), makes dual use of the land for both agriculture and PV generation.
The goal of this worksop is to explore and discuss the role of robotics in the future orchard and agri-PV environment. Robots can be used to gather information on plant health and PV structure condition, but could also play a role on interacting with plants and on active maintenance of the structure. In particular, technology, with a strong emphasis on automation, plays a pivotal role in offering a cost-effective complement to human labor.
The EU-funded project Symbiosyst, lead by Eurac, aims to explore the application of agri-PV in different environments and to develop solutions for its implementation. The role of robotics in this project is to create robotic solutions for sensing and inspection.

The different type of robots (wheeled, legged, UAV,..) that could be involved will be discussed, and their advantages or disadvantages with respect to fixed arrays of sensors.
The outcomes of this workshop is to create awareness of the robotics needs in agri-PV and to discuss possible solutions.

Intended Outcome: Workshop covering material new to ERF that the Robotics community should engage with, Workshop on recent developments in technology or applications, Workshop discussion topics of common interest, success stories, use cases, etc.

The workshop aims to encompass the latest advancements and practical applications in robotics, mechanization, and smart horticulture. We invite research focused on technologies that enhance the precision of crop production methods. Our specific emphasis lies in technologies for crop monitoring and intervention, manage irrigation, nutrient application, crop protection, canopy management, and load control.

Approach: 85 min. slot. A 40-min presentations of current state of robotics in orchards and agri-PV projects, with a description of research for precision agriculture applications, followed by a 45-min discussion with the participant, in which interactive tools will be used.

Contributors/Speakers: 4

Dario Mengoli and Luigi Manfrini – University of Bologna – WS Introduction. State of the art and needs in the robotization for the orchard management.
Mirko Piani – University of Bologna – Computer vision applications for the management of future orchards
Carlos Rizzo – EURECAT – Advancements in Robotics for Sustainable Agriculture: Autonomous Solutions for Pesticide Optimizatio
Alba Perez Gracia – CDEI – Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya – Agricultural robots in the Agri-PV environment
Kushtrim Bresilla – Wageningen Research Institute – Innovations in Agriculture: Harnessing AI and Robotics for Orchard Management Practices