Robots in the Fields: Directions Towards Sustainable Crop Production - ICRA Keynote
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Food, feed, fiber, and fuel: Crop farming plays an essential role for the future of humanity and our planet. We heavily rely on agricultural production and at the same time, we need to reduce the footprint of agriculture production: less input of chemicals like herbicides and fertilizer and other limited resources. Simultaneously, the decline in arable land and climate change pose additional constraints like drought, heat, and other extreme weather events. Robots and other new technologies offer promising directions to tackle different management challenges in agricultural fields. To achieve this, autonomous field robots need the ability to perceive and model their environment, to predict possible future developments, and to make appropriate decisions in complex and changing situations. This talk will showcase recent developments towards robot-driven sustainable crop production. We will illustrate how certain management tasks can be automized using UAVs and UGVs and which new ways this technology offers. Among work conducted in collaborative European projects, the talk covers ongoing developments of the Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob - Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” and some of our current exploitation activities.
Cyrill Stachniss is full professor at the University of Bonn since 2014 and heads the Photogrammetry and Robotics Lab. Before being appointed in Bonn, he was a lecturer at the University of Freiburg as well as with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The research activities of the Photogrammetry and Robotics Lab focus on probabilistic techniques in the context of mobile robotics, navigation problems, and visual perception. The lab has made several contributions in the area of SLAM, localization, place recognition, autonomous exploration and planning, semantic interpretation and covers ground vehicles as well as UAVs. The two main application areas of the lab are agricultural robotics and autonomous cars. Cyrill Stachniss has coauthored over 220 scientific publications, he was senior editor of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters as well as associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics. He is a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow and received the IEEE RAS Early Career Award in 2013. He is actively participating in German and European research projects. He is spokesperson of the DFG Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob - Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn. Furthermore, he acted as coordinator of the EC-funded project “ROVINA” for digitizing the Roman catacombs with robots and as the spokesperson of the DFG research unit “Mapping on Demand”. Besides his university involvement, he co-founded three startups: Escarda Technologies, DeepUp, and PhenoInspect.
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