The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Agri-Food Robotics: AgriFoRwArdS hosted their first CDT Annual Conference on 19th and 20th March 2020.
The first conference on agri-food robotics featured presentations from academics and industry leaders and was facilitated by the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering.
(Presentation slides are available below)
The conference was scheduled to take place at the University of Cambridge but, due to the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis, the format was changed from a physical to an online conference. Presenters and attendees embraced the virtual event which had originally been planned to coincide with the 2020 Cambridge Science Festival. The online conference was an opportunity for those operating with the agri-food sector to hear from guest speakers, including academics, as well as industry leaders from both start-ups and established companies. Topics focused on the use of agri-food robotics and the possibilities for the future.
There were 12 presentations across two days which were watched by 70+ participants. Details of the presentations can be found below, click on the presentation title to view the presentation documents:
Progress on autonomous vehicles from the machinery manufacturer’s perspective. Dr Thomas Engel, John Deere.
Crop/weed discrimination for autonomous weeding robots. Dr Grzegorz Cielniak, University of Lincoln.
Robotics solutions for strawberry harvesting. Professor Marc Hanheide, University of Lincoln.
High-resolution biosensors and actuators for plant hormone biology. Dr Alexander Jones, University of Cambridge.
Thorvald – from research to commercial deployment. Halvard Grimstad, Saga Robotics.
Important challenges in commercial (as apposed to academic) agri-robotics. Dr Duncan Robertson, Dogtooth Technologies.
Investing in robotics and automation. Amelia Armour, Amadeus Capital Partners.
Robots in the kitchen: from field to plate.Dr Antonio D’Ammaro, Beko.
Can spectra be measured with a conventional camera. Professor Graham Finlayson, University of East Anglia.
What is feedback control and what it can do in agriculture. Dr Fulvio Forni, University of Cambridge.
Cambridge industry collaboration. Helen Francis, University of Cambridge.
Commercial development of agri-food technology including robotics and artificial intelligence. Chris Roberts, Cambridge Consultants.
A public lecture, streamed on YouTube, was also part of the CDT conference programme, featuring a discussion with Professor Roland Siegwart, from ETH Zurich, on innovative drones for environmental and agricultural monitoring.
Our own students also created posters for the event and these can be viewed here.
Simulation of Weed Detection and Spraying. Roopika Ravikanna and Grzegorz Sochacki, University of Lincoln.
Automatic Topological Mapping for Agricultural Robots. Karoline Heiwolt and Willow Mandil, University of Lincoln.
Feedback from the conference was fantastic, with special mention given to the variety of topics and speakers and the quality of their presentations.
“It was brilliant to have more of an insight into current levels of automation within industry and also the research and development of new automation within academic environments.”
“Learning a lot about a sector totally new to me and seeing the connections to my sector.”
“Thought the transaction to an online conference went as smooth as could be expected. As a student joining the programme it has very much improved my understanding of the discipline.”
“I just think it’s really cool that you guys decided to host an online conference rather than just cancelling it completely as so many others do.”
We would like to thank everyone who joined us on the day.
PhD studentships available
Meanwhile, application are invited for fully-funded four-year PhD studentships within the world’s first EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Agri-Food Robotics. Find more information here.