agROBOfood: Towards an effective adoption of robotics technologies
The challenges faced by farmers are huge, they are asked to produce more and better food while using fewer resources, to lower their environmental footprint and to meet a consumer demand relentlessly evolving. agROBOfood aims at maximising the return of EU investment in agri food robotics and advance Europe to become the vanguard in providing safe and adequate food in a sustainable way.
Starting June 2019, the 16 mln EU project agROBOfood builds the European ecosystem for the effective adoption of robotics technologies in the European agri food sector. Kees Lokhorst, coordinator agROBOfood: ”Now the agROBOfood project has started, it is possible for companies throughout Europe to be supported in Agro Food Robotics innovation and business. Through the network of digital innovation hubs, borders can be crossed and European strengths combined. agROBOfood will demonstrate and accelerate new robotics technology to make the European agri food sector more efficient and competitive.”
The heart of the project is composed of Innovation Experiments, organized and monitored by Digital Innovation Hubs. In 7 Regional Clusters, initial experiments will demonstrate robotics innovations in agri food in a manner that ensures replicability and wide adoption across Europe.
To protect people from working in sub-zero temperatures, in the agROBOfood project a demonstrator robot will be built: a mixed palletiser to work in a freezer room. Another example will be to harvest fruit automatically, on time and with less manpower. This results in lower production and resource costs, whilst solving the labour shortage problem. Furthermore a demonstrator for cucumbers will be built which can judge the maturity and pick & handle fruits in a greenhouse. Also, we will show a drone monitoring vineyards. Many more examples will be shown, both by the consortium and by companies who can apply for funding in the open calls. The Digital Innovation Hubs and connected experts will support these innovation experiments.
Digital Innovation Hubs
agROBOfood connects the world of Robotics and Agriculture, R&D and business by establishing a sustainable network of Digital Innovation Hubs. This consolidates, extends and strengthens the current ecosystem. Digital Innovation Hubs support companies in digitization by connecting technical, human and financial stakeholders.
agROBOfood will work closely with the broader European robotics community, ensuring synergetic effects with initiatives such as EU-Robotics. This will maximize the return of European investments, including private capital, in the digital transformation of agri food.
The agROBOfood network already consists of 49 digital innovation hubs and 12 competence centers and will grow during the project. The project consortium fuelling this growth has 38 partners, led by Wageningen University & Research.
An Industrial Advisory Board will provide strategic guidance and also define priorities for the selection of solutions to be funded. Open Calls will attract additional Innovation Experiments and Industrial Challenges. There is €8 million available to the benefit of SMEs.
Through its inclusive structure and ambitious targets, agROBOfood aims to bring the entire European ecosystem together; connecting the dots in a way that ensures effective adoption of robotics technologies in the European agri food sector. Please grow with us!
This project was presented during the 2020 FIRA as part of the Scientific Seminar run by Robagri