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Challenging new applications for autonomous robotics

Track: Autonomy /collaborative and cloud

Date and Time: 15 Mar 2024 14:50-16:10

Organisers: Francisco Blanes, Paul Chippendale, Stefan Leutenegger

Main questions to be answered: How can autonomous robots be applied and implemented in real-world agroforestry applications that encompass tasks difficult to automate and where speed and versatility are essential?

Additional questions: How can robots navigate through extremely challenging natural environments in a trustworthy way?

Additional questions 2: How can robots be comprehensively made aware of what nearby human-workers are doing in outdoor agroforestry scenarios?

Workshop Description: Autonomous robots in many challenging agroforestry applications are underused, being regarded as expensive hi-tech tools with limited autonomy and intelligence that can only relieve workers of physical fatigue or repetitive tasks in large-scale and highly unstructured and unknown areas (e.g. robotic tractors or hydroponics). To overcome these and other negative preconceptions, we must show how robots (aerial, land, and underwater) can learn to navigate and operate in environments that are highly complex, dense and rapidly changing and how they are able to make joint decisions with fellow human-workers. In agroforestry scenarios which have tasks that are difficult to automate, and where speed and versatility are essential, competence, robustness and safety perception are also fundamental. Another adoption barrier that impedes deployment is the skill requirement of workers to operate such robots. In this workshop, we will explore these topics via early results, insights and challenges coming from Horizon Europe projects and experts in the field that are trying to solve different challenges and improve capabilities. Expected Outcomes: 1. Trigger information exchanges between academia and industry (end users) about the challenges and emerging autonomous robotic solutions; 2. A position/white paper stemming from the results of the workshop; 3. Identify specific collaboration actions between ongoing projects at EU, national and international levels.

Intended Outcome: Workshop discussion topics of common interest, success stories, use cases, etc, Workshop on recent developments in technology or applications, Workshop expected to create a roadmap or white paper

Approach: 00:00 – 00:03 Opening comments by the organizers 00:03 – 00:50 5 impulse talks 00:50 – 01:15 Panel discussion (5 speakers as panelists) with interactions with the audience 01:15 – 01:20 Concluding remarks by the organizers

Contributors: 1. Jens Behley (male), University of Bonn, Germany (University) – LiDAR-based tree trait extraction for forestry management – Project: DIGI-FOREST 2. Micael Couceiro (male), Ingeniarius, Portugal (SME) – Human-Aware Collaborative Robots in the Wild. Project: FEROX 3. Isibor Kennedy Ihianle (male), Department of Computing and Technology, Nottingham Trent University. Project: SMART BERRY 4. Tjark Schutte Leibniz (male), Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie Safe and robust – 3D mapping for soft collision prediction of autonomous mobile robots in orchards. Project: SMART4ALL 5. Martin Pierre Francois Jacquet (male), Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “Learning for sensor-based navigation in forest environment”. Project: DIGI-FOREST

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