Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ROMI (RObotics for MIcrofarms)
Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-09-30
ROMI will develop an open and lightweight robotics platform for these microfarms, by proposing in a first time to the market a weeding robot, a farmer’s dashboard and a 3D scanner. With these tools, we will be able to assist these farms in weed reduction and crop monitoring. This will reduce manual labour and increase the productivity through advanced planning tools. For instance, thanks to ROMI’s weeding robot, farmers will save 25% of their time. This land robot will also acquire detailed information on sample plants and will be coupled with an aerial robot that acquires more global information at crop level : that will be our farmer’s dashboard application. Together, they will produce an integrated, multi-scale picture of the crop development that will help the farmer monitor the crops to increase efficient harvesting. For this, ROMI will have to adapt and extend state-of-the-art land-based and airborne monitoring tools to handle small fields with complex layouts and mixed crops.
To achieve this, we will: (i) develop and bring to the market an affordable, multi-purpose, land-based robot, (ii) develop a weeding app for this robot that is adapted for organic microfarms, (iii) apply advanced 3D plant analysis and modelling techniques to in-field data acquisition, (iv) integrate these analysis techniques in the robot for detailed plant monitoring, (iv) integrate these techniques also in an aerial robot for multi-scale crop monitoring, (v) extend the robot with novel, adaptive learning techniques to improve sensorimotor control of the plant monitoring app, (vi) propose an affordable 3D scanner for plant phenotyping and (viii) test the effectiveness of our solution in real-world field conditions.
Another important feature of ROMI is that all the tools (software and hardware) will be made openly available under a free license. We believe that this is the best approach to have a wide as possible impact. It facilitates the access to our results for the many small farms worldwide and facilitates the collaboration between farmers, scientists, engineers, and industry.