New research projects in Agri-Food, 5G and personal robotics

TIAGo robot in the new 2021 EU Projects for agri-food, 5G, and personal robotics

New investigations into agri-food, personal robots and manufacturing

Robotics research is constantly evolving to bring advancements that can be applied in real-life scenarios, including fields such as Agri-Food, personal robots and factories of the future, for which 5G connection will be a key development. At PAL Robotics we are pleased to announce we are project partners in new European research projects designed to make an impact in all of those areas, which will start in January 2021.

CANOPIES (Cooperativa Agricola Corsira)

We will join the team in project CANOPIES: the goal of this project is to develop a Human-Robot prototype in crop farming (Agri-Food) that addresses the challenges of Human-Robot Interaction and Human-Robot Collaboration.

An integrated system composed of farming robots and logistics robots operating within a table grape vineyard on both harvesting and pruning, will be used to demonstrate the project approach.

The challenge here is that using robotics for harvesting and pruning requires development of complex processes of perception, communication, shared planning in agreement, prediction of human intentions, interaction and action.

CANOPIES will be the first attempt to introduce a collaborative prototype in precision agriculture for permanent crops, with the aim that farm workers can work together with teams of robots to perform harvesting or pruning in table-grape vineyards.

In this project, the role of PAL Robotics will be to:

  • Provide the upper body of the robot demonstrator customizing our robot (TIAGo++) according to the requirements of the project
  • Develop the end-effectors on TIAGo++ that are needed for the vineyards
  • Expose a hardware abstraction layer with open interfaces for mid-level control

The overall goal is to demonstrate the CANOPIES approach and robots in a real agricultural environment. The site identified to test the capabilities of the integrated system developed within CANOPIES is an agricultural cooperative named “Cooperativa Agricola Corsira”, which is a community of roughly 20 small producers in Aprilia, Lazio, Italy.

Read our highlights about the Project CANOPIES and robots for agri-food at the European Robotics Forum 2021.

The project partners for this project will be: Università degli Studi Roma, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sapienza Università di Roma, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Università degli studi di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale, Danish Technological Institut, PaleBlue AS, Agrimessina Srl and RSA Srl. CANOPIES is set to begin in January 2021 and last for 48 months.

Close in of the mobile manipulator TIAGo robot


Also starting in January 2021, we will be a project partner in the EVOLVED-5G project, which aims to contribute towards the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0.

As a background to this project, the intense research work on 5G experimentation in Europe so far has reached the point where the evolved 5G capabilities are ready to be further developed through research and innovation projects.

Transformations and advances by the use of 5G in factories of the future result in benefits in Innovation, Efficiency, Agility and Security, bringing together the end-to-end factory processes for moving towards Industry 4.0.

During the EVOLVED-5G project, Network Applications (NetApps) will be tested, validated, and certified in an experimentation platform. PAL Robotics’ activities will focus on the development of the NetApps. The NetApps will support agile production through using robotics and AI technologies in factories of the future. Our AI-driven humanoid robot TIAGo will be used in this work.

  • Upgrading the 5G experimentation potential in Europe, through the design, development, and release of an open 5G experimentation facility that will support network programmability
  • Materializing the openness of 5G to vertical industries by creating a NetApp development and verification environment
  • Supporting the digital market around the NetApps by designing, developing, releasing and maintaining an active marketplace/App store

The mobile manipulator robot TIAGo loading the autonomous mobile robot TIAGo Base

PERSEO (PErsonalised Robotics as SErvice Oriented)

Finally, we will also collaborate in project PERSEO (European Training Network on PErsonalised Robotics as SErvice Oriented applications project), which aims to train a new generation of research and professional figures to face research challenges in the market of personal robots.

Personal robotics presents several research challenges mainly related to the need for a high degree of personalization of robot behaviour for the user’s needs and preferences.There is the need to develop a research community to investigate different robot capabilities for understanding and modelling interaction with humans and for adapting the robot’s behaviour to each context. Software integration mechanisms are also needed that allow an easier personalized configuration approach for robots to be able to meet user needs.

PERSEO’s research program is organized into three Research Themes aimed at investigating personalization of robot capabilities at different levels of possible human-Robot interaction, in particular “Physical”, “Cognitive”, and “Social”. This requires research skills ranging from computer science and AI to automation, ethics, and psychology.

At PAL Robotics we will take part in Early Stage Research training and Theory of Mind for Personalized Interaction. Overall, the project will look at user-centred design and development of novel imitation learning techniques for enhancing PAL Robotics’ TIAGo robot.

The goal is to learn human actions while modelling the physical capabilities of the human and mapping them on the robot. This will include upgrading the robot’s hardware and software according to the experimental results.

Overall, the research aims to develop cutting edge skills in human action recognition, learning algorithms and techniques for modelling physical capabilities of both humans and robots. The outcome of the project is expected to be a social robot able to learn activities from a human demonstrator using visual observation and imitating the actions taking the different physical capabilities of the human and the robot into account.

TIAGo robot in a corridor

TIAGo the mobile manipulator robot that will be used in these European research projects combines perception, navigation, manipulation & Human-Robot Interaction skills out of the box. TIAGo robot has a modular design and can be configured based on customer needs. TIAGo customizations available include TIAGo Titanium, TIAGo Steel, TIAGo Iron and TIAGo ++.
We are always on the look for new potential partners, to find out more about EU funded projects or request information, visit PAL Robotics’ collaborative projects webpage and don’t hesitate to get in touch.

To read more articles like this, follow our blog on robots and science!

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