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Robots for protecting crops

Project description

Cultivating robotics and AI for sustainable farming

Agriculture is susceptible to the cost and scarcity of labour, and making cultivation practices more efficient and sustainable is critical. EU-funded ROBS4CROPS is a vital catalyst in accelerating high-tech robotics and automated technologies in the European food and farm industry. Building upon the existing agricultural machinery, standards, and best practices, the 4-year project will shape and deliver a flexible and modular, fully autonomous system ready for large-scale commercial trials. The trials will be conducted in partnership with commercial farms and business leaders from France, Greece, Spain, and the Netherlands. ROBS4CROPS will significantly reduce farmers' dependency on hired labour, increase safety, reduce the use of inputs and the overall carbon footprint of food production.


The most important challenge in European agriculture is the cost and scarcity of labour. Robots have replaced labour in several sectors of the economy. Agricultural robots have not yet reached widespread acceptance. The vision of ROBS4CROPS is an agricultural sector where robots will replace humans in all heavy and unpleasant work!

From a technical point of view, agricultural robots do not reach their potential because they are used as stand-alone units rather than as part of a complete, innovative robotic system. From a non-technical point of view, agricultural robots do not fit well with current farming practices and agricultural standards and are not supported by an ecosystem of stakeholders.

ROBS4CROPS will tackle technical challenges by creating a robotic farming solution that consists of three elements: smart implements, autonomous vehicles, and the farming controller. Existing agricultural implements and tractors will be upgraded so that they can function, together with existing agricultural robots, as parts of a robotic system. Development and testing will take place in real farming environments (real operating conditions), in four countries, in iterative cycles, and in close collaboration with stakeholders.

ROBS4CROPS will tackle non-technical challenges by using existing agricultural standards, by utilizing existing machinery (thus lowering the initial investment needed), and by addressing the lack of maintenance, insurance, financing and training. Compliance with regulations, robo-ethics and socio-economic impact will be explicitly addressed. Robotics offers an opportunity to develop novel business models. Building the ecosystem for agricultural robotics will take place iteratively, in parallel with technical development. The complete robotic system (technical and non-technical) will be demonstrated at scale in pilots in four European countries.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 945 612,50
Droevendaalsesteeg 4
6708 PB Wageningen

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Oost-Nederland Gelderland Veluwe
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (16)