It’s been a busy week for our researchers, with four reviews successfully completed on 17th and 18th of October. Three projects, all in collaboration with SAGA Robotics and Berrygardens, focus on increasing productivity growth, food safety, and reducing the environmental impact in soft fruit production:
- Our GRASPBerry project, funded by InnovateUK and part of our RASBerry research programme, passed its second-quarter review. Substantial progress was made in the perception of strawberries for manipulation, also based on our comprehensive data collection exercise on our Riseholme robotic farm throughout the summer season by L-CAS researchers and SAGA team members. And a new prototype of the “picking head” mounted on the robot was presented.
- The project “Autonomous robots to support fruit picking“, also funded by InnovateUK had its final review meeting, bringing this project to a close. It has been revolutionary in achieving true autonomy of the Thorvald fleet in navigation and coordination, proven by successful deployments and interactions with human pickers in the fields of Clock House Farm in September and October.
- The last InnovateUK project “First Fleet“, directly building upon the robust autonomy of the previous project, also had its review. It brings a multitude of applications in strawberry production to the fleet of Thorvald robots, including field scouting, combating plant diseases, and prevention of powdery mildew on plants through UV light treatment, massively reducing fungicide use in production.
If you are interested in our latest developments of our fleet of fruit production supporting robots, make sure to tune in to “Countryfile Autumn Diaries” on BBC One on Tuesday 29/10/2019 at 9:15!
Finally, the week also so the review and stakeholder meeting of our Intra-Logistics H2020 project ILIAD. To verify the developments in long-term mapping, human-aware navigation, and system integration that L-CAS contributes to this large-scale project, enabling easy deployment and safe & flexible operation in warehouses, we operated three forklift trucks at the real-world warehouse of Orkla Foods in Örebro, Sweden. The reviewers were impressed with the level of integration and scientific progress made in the last period. ILIAD is running for another 13 months, and we’ll likely be back at Orkla Foods next year for a final demonstration of our integrated fleet of different forklift, operating completely autonomously without needed any infrastructure installed.