EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Agri-Food Robotics: AgriFoRwArdS - Willow Mandil portrait.

Willow Mandil

  • University of Lincoln in collaboration with Berry Gardens

Research Interests

Machine learning.

Papers and Presentations

  • Heiwolt, K., Mandil, W., Cielniak, G. and Hanheide, M. (2020). Automated Topological Mapping for Agricultural Robots. UKRAS20 Conference: “Robots into the real world” Proceedings, 27-29. doi: 10.31256/Ze8Ex1V
  • Mandil, W. (2020). Investigation into Harvesting Soft Fruit Clusters. Lincoln Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 2020, online.
  • Mandil, W., and Esfahani, A.G. (2021) Modelling soft fruit clusters for controlled harvesting. ICRA Task-Informed Grasping Workshop – III, online. Watch here.
  • Mandil, W. (2021). Tactile prediction for controlled manipulation. AgriFoRwArdS CDT Annual Conference 2021, online.
  • Almanzor, E., Darbyshire, M., Davy, J., Mandil, W., and Shi, J. (2021). Visual perception for harvesting grapes. AgriFoRwArdS CDT Annual Conference 2021, online.

MSc Project

Investigation into Harvesting Soft Fruit Clusters

We propose an investigation into harvesting soft fruit clusters with robotics. Separating the problem into two distinct problems: motion planning to grasp the soft fruit (task 1); motion planning to release the soft fruit from the cluster (task 2). We will apply probabilistic movement primitives updated with model predictive control to task 1 and a probabilistic movement primitive architecture to task 2. We intend to test task 1 on strawberry clusters and task 2 on mushroom clusters.

PhD Project

Data-driven methods for detecting fruit and planning harvesting actions in dense cluster (DPFH)

Selective harvesting of soft fruit is a very challenging problem involving computer vision, motion planning, motion control, scheduling, and optimisation. State-of-the-art (SOTA) robotic system for selective harvesting of soft fruits are still far away from a human performance level, partially because the conventional planning cannot provide a feasible solution for the robot to reach-and-pick the soft fruit.   

DPFH aims to develop SOTA method for interactive motion planning and control for picking soft-fruits in a cluster where the robot needs to push the occluding pieces away to (i) better detect, segment and localise a ripe fruit and (ii) reach-and-pick the ripe fruit. The effectiveness of the developed methods in this project will be demonstrated in simulation environments, in the lab with toy strawberries and in the strawberry field.