Atos Helps Develop Robotics in Farming

Atos coordinates European project FlexiGroBots to foster the use of robotics in agriculture

Atos announces that it is coordinating and actively contributing to the European project “FlexiGroBots”. This initiative aims to empower robot-makers, engineers and service providers to build and deploy multi-robot systemsfor the agri-food industry to support farmers in their daily work. Within the framework of the Horizon 2020 program, the project will develop an innovative platform to facilitate the use of robotics through three large-scale pilots across Europe.

The adoption of new technologies in the agricultural sector has increased in recent years, unleashing a new paradigm: “agriculture 4.0” where robotics, AI and automation play a fundamental role in crop management and precision agriculture[1] by addressing real-time decision making and monitoring needs. However, current robotic systems are lacking flexibility as they are built to carry out very specific missions and are not able to handle other tasks nor cooperate with other robotic technologies, leading to a lack of ROI for farmers.

The FlexiGroBots project will run over 36 months with the aim of developing and validating an open platform which supports the creation of flexible and heterogeneous multi-robot systems that enable multi-robot cooperation and autonomy. Robots include UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles).

Within FlexiGroBots, the Atos research and innovation group acts as the project coordinator, guaranteeing the execution of the planned activities and the overall monitoring and supervision of the project. Atos will help provide the architecture and requirement analysis, lead the reference architecture and synchronize the three pilots. It acts as a technical leader and main contributor in the development of robotic mission control center capabilities for the design, planning and supervision of heterogeneous multi-robot operations, including robotic services enabled by Computer Vision techniques and in geospatial data analysis. As a member of the International Data Space Association (IDSA), Atos also works on the development of data space enablers for the data management of an industrial data space tailored to the agricultural context, allowing secure data exchange across various stakeholders within the agri-food sector.

"This project fits perfectly with Atos’ objective to contribute to the digitization of European industries, including agriculture, through the development of innovative applications and services based on AI, data and trusted robotics”, comments Daniel Calvo Alonso, Head of the ‘AI, Data and Robotics’ Unit in the Atos Research and Innovation department and coordinator of the FlexiGroBots project.

The FlexiGroBots platform will be validated in three real pilot projects:

  • Vineyards (Spain): Demonstrate the high capacity and versatility of robots to perform different tasks in vineyards, contributing to the quality of grapes for wine production and to overall economic profitability.
  • Rapeseed fields (Finland): Demonstrate time-critical pest management and robotization of heavy machinery fleets in grassland management.
  • Blueberries fields (Serbia and Lithuania): Demonstrate the potential of innovative robotic solutions – with advanced remote sensing techniques, deep learning and decision support – to grow blueberries.

Funded by the European Commission with 7 million euros, FlexiGroBots brings together a multidisciplinary consortium made up of 16 different organizations and companies from 8 different countries. 

[1] Precision agriculture is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring, and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.

Source: Atos media announcement


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