EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Agri-Food Robotics: AgriFoRwArdS - Amie_photo

Amie Owen

  • University of Lincoln in collaboration with Campden BRI

Research Interests

Robot-human interaction, fleet robotics and machine perception.

Presentations

  • SOFHT (Society of Food Hygiene & Technology) Innovation Day (March 2022): Intelligent automation for hygiene maintenance in food production settings.
  • Campden BRI Processing, Operations and Preservation Member Interest Group (March 2022).
  • International Conference on Practical Applications of Agents and Multi-Agent Systems PAAMS (July 2022): Towards the Application of Multi-Agent Task Allocation to Hygiene Tasks in the Food Production Industry.
  • Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems Annual Conference (TAROS) (September 2022): Towards Autonomous Task Allocation Using a Robot Team in a Food Factory.

Other Activities and Outputs

  • Member of the AgriFoRwArdS CDT Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Panel
  • Awarded Best Summer School Presentation at the AgriFoRwArdS CDT Annual Conference 2021 for contributions to ‘Computer vision for quality assessment of apples’.
  • Took part in the AgriFoRwArdS Summer School 2021 resulting in co-authored presentation: Computer vision for quality assessment of apples.
  • Co-authored presentation for ICRA Task-Informed Grasping Workshop – III: Current Advances in Hardware for Agri-Food Manipulaiton – A Review (in collaboration with Bradley Hurst, Joshua Davy, Amir Ghalamzan Esfahani).
  • Represented the CDT at the the Fresh Produce Consortium festival event in 2021.
  • Member of AgriFoRwArdS CDT Annual Conference 2022 discussion panel.

About me

Since graduating from the University of Leeds I worked as an electrical engineer in the automotive industry for five years, working initially for a large manufacturer before moving to an engineering consultancy. While working in a consultancy I tested plug-in hybrid vehicles and also the first all-electric vehicle for a large manufacturer. Another project involved testing software for the transmission control unit on the HIL (hardware in the loop) rig for another manufacturer. As a project manager I managed a project to design a bespoke driveline solution for a hybrid vehicle. While working to prepare and install sensors and equipment for testing a prototype tractor run on compressed natural gas I became interested in how technology could be used to aid in agriculture.

Developing robotic or autonomous systems for agri-food is challenging but working in this area has real potential to make an impact. I am excited to be part of the CDT at Lincoln!

Since being at Lincoln some of my favourite places to visit are the West Common and The Museum of Lincolnshire Life. I have had a previous life in music and played classical guitar as a solo performer and with various ensembles. I enjoy keeping up with my music and have enjoyed strumming a ukulele to reduce stress when deadlines are approaching!

MSc Project

Multi-Agent Simulation for Pickers and Runners at a Strawberry Farm

This project involves developing a simulation using Python and Mesa (a multi-agent simulation platform) to model a team of workers at a strawberry farm. The procedure of allocating picking tasks to all workers on the farm, especially when there are several fields to pick and the packing station is not stationary, is not a trivial one and so the simulation aims to provide a solution for task allocation which gives an improved efficiency for total picking time as compared to current methods used. The simulation will involve ‘bidding’ for tasks in a very similar way to some of those that can be seen to be effective for robot task allocation in a multi-robot team.

Once the workers have filled their trolleys with punnets of strawberries, they must travel to and then queue at the packing station. I aim to implement a solution for reducing the queuing time for workers by tweaking the task allocation process to include a ‘queuing factor’.

PhD Project

Intelligent Automation for Hygiene Maintenance in Food Production Settings

This project examines the opportunities for applying intelligent automation to help maintain hygiene within food production settings, working with Campden BRI to develop and test a specific use case. Three key directions are explored: (1) identification of appropriate artificial intelligence (AI) methodologies, particularly related to coordination in multi-robot teams, to assist with efficient deployment of human workforce; (2) investigation of existing robotic devices that could perform hygiene tasks currently undertaken by people; and (3) deployment of robot teams, with or without human team members, to perform hygiene tasks in food manufacturing settings. This work is particularly timely due to human labour shortages and important from a health and safety perspective, particularly if robotic cleaners and intelligent task planning can reduce humans’ exposure to cleaning products.

This research is being carried out under the supervision of Prof Elizabeth Sklar, and in collaboration with Campden BRI.