Cost effective robots for smart precision spraying
Spraying in agriculture represents a societal challenge due to its negative impact in human and animal health and in environment. SCORPION’s objective is to develop a safe and autonomous precision spraying tool integrated into a modular unmanned tractor (robotics platform) to increase spraying efficiency, while reducing human and animal exposure to pesticides, water usage and labour costs. The project is focused on steep slope vineyards but with impact in other high-value permanent crops (olive groves and fruticulture). SCORPION’ is considering Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS) receiver (triple frequency, PPP, OS-NMA, HAS) fused with other sensors, to increase the solution reliability, accuracy and safeness, and to enable autonomous ultraviolet light treatments (to eliminate partial need of phytopharmaceuticals) and to allow high precision spraying in permanent crops.
Requirements Analysis and Use Cases
The activities aim to obtain, assess and formalize in a very detailed manner, user needs and requirements. The collected information will enable the full architecture development and technical system specification.
New Spraying Approaches and Tools for Robotic Precision Spraying
The activities will contribute to the innovation of sprayers for precision spraying. Some of these innovations include: the integration of a new visual perception system into the new sprayer; the development of a novel RF based sensor for better vine perception and diagnoses; the integration of electronic actuators instead of hydraulic/pneumatic approaches to reduce the sprayer size and increase controllability; the usage of novel approaches for vineyard treatments (UV-light, nitrogen and natural fungus).
Permanent Crops Perception, Navigation and Localization
The activities will mainly contribute to develop and improve simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) for field to agricultural robots, evaluate several SLAM approaches non GNSS-based considering natural vineyards features and artificial landmarks and beacons, and integrate SLAM with GNSS (Galileo triple frequency) receivers and wireless network localization capabilities.
Control and Safety Systems
Leader: INESC TEC
The main goal of these activities is to develop a control software for the collision avoidance system, following a top-down approach. The control system will enable to precisely drive the robot in four modes: manually, remotely operated, path-following with and without task execution. Activities have also been planned to validate and certify the software components, taking into account the requirements and common practices to most industry standards on safety-critical software.
SCORPION, Integration and Technical Validation
Leader: INESC TEC
The planned activities include the upgrade of AGROB platform with diesel power motor generator and mechanical interfaces, and the integration of sprayers and navigation/safety systems into AGROB V20. Activities are also expected to measure and validate in real vineyards the proposed values, and create a continuous integration of technical aspects and link these with communication and dissemination activities.
Pilots, Dissemination and Communication Activities
The activities aim at promoting the benefits of the usage of robotics technologies in steep slope vineyards, disseminate the project results, boost networking and evaluate of performance and quality of SCORPION robot against other solutions.
Exploitation of Results and IPR
The activities will focus on the exploitation of the SCORPION results, development of an IPR implementation and control plan, as well as the creation of a Business plan for commercial exploitation of SCORPION.