Robots are smart autonomous or semi-autonomous machines that can reliably replace human labor and human-dependent heavy machinery, and that can work around the clock, in all weather conditions. This is of particular importance for applications in agriculture, where robots can help solve problems such as shortage of labor, growing production costs, food safety and product quality, soil compaction, efficient use of resources and reduction of emissions of chemicals to the environment.
Robotics and mechatronics group at BioSense Institute focuses on research in agro robotics, including various aspects such as perception, communications, control and actuation. The particular challenges addressed include the development of interfaces that present information in a clear and intelligible way for all types of operators, application of multiple sensing modalities for the assessment of crops, detection of crop and field boundaries, identification of novel events in the agricultural environment, optimization of yield, and identification of trends and patterns in gathered data. Typical examples of tackled problems are smart seeding, including soil preparation, irrigation, and fertilization, automatic detection of pests and disease of crops, intelligent spraying, phenotyping, selective harvesting and infield logistics.
The group also possesses significant experience in robotic systems using ROS (Robotic Operating System), perception technologies (3D scanning, LiDAR), identification technologies (RFID readers/writers, UHF, HF and LF, barcode scanners, biometrical readers), motion control (linear electric and pneumatic actuators, frequency and servo regulators, position sensors) and process control (PLC, SCADA systems, industrial PCs, pneumatic and electro-pneumatic components, various sensors).