New technical and operative solutions for the use of drones in Agriculture 4.0

The concept of Agriculture 4.0 consists in the harmonious and interconnected use in agriculture of two different digital technologies: precision agriculture and Smart Farming. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have identified the use of unmanned autonomous systems as a crucial technology to support and address some of the most pressing challenges in farming. In particular, UAVs could represent a favorable alternative to conventional farming machines, whenever clear advantages with respect to traditional methods are provided, in terms of higher efficiency in operations, reduced environmental impact or enhanced human health and safety. Within this framework, the AgriDrones 4.0 project has been funded to develop novel technologies and tools for fostering the introduction of new agricultural operations conducted by unmanned vehicles (UVs), both aerial and ground (UAVs and UGVs), driven by Farming 4.0 principles. In particular, the project will investigate scenarios where UVs may represent a favorable alternative to conventional machines, e.g. sloped areas, and whenever clear advantages with respect to traditional methods, in terms of higher efficiency in operations, reduced environmental impact or enhanced human health and safety, may be envisaged.
The SMC group is in charge of the development of methods and algorithms for mission planning and Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) tasks, together with the design of tools and practices for the operations to be performed by means of UAVs. Hence, the main tasks are:

  • Precision spraying with UAV: Coordination and optimization of the spraying and navigation phase, to minimize dispersion and optimize treatment combining robust optimization and model predictive techniques.
  • Robust and stochastic guidance and control strategies for UVs: Navigation of UVs in structured and contained environments, such as vineyards rows.

Moreover, the SMC group provides support to the other partners during the design phase of the prototypes.

PARTNERS & CNR-IEIIT ROLE

Partners: Università degli Studi di Torino, CNR-IEIIT, Politecnico di Torino, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Università degli Studi di Bologna.

CNR-IEIIT is in charge of the development of algorithms for mission planning, and Guidance, Navigation and Control tasks for the unmanned vehicles and provides support during the design phase of prototypes.
 

OTHER INFORMATION

Funding: Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Italian Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca within the 2017 Projects of National Interest (PRIN 2017, Prot. 2017S559BB)

Timeline: 2019-2022