Create the future of agriculture together. This was the motto of World FIRA 2023, an international event on robotic agriculture, which took place between February 7 and 9, in Toulouse (France). INESC TEC participated in the event, represented by the Centre for Robotics in Industry and Intelligent Systems (CRIIS) and the TEC4AGRO-FOOD initiative. This was an opportunity to present the work developed within the scope of the SCORPION project, a European initiative coordinated by INESC TEC that focuses on the development of autonomous and affordable robotic platforms for smart precision spraying.
Considered the world’s leading event for the demonstration of innovative technologies in agricultural automation and robotics, the World FIRA – Agricultural Robotics Forum – has been taking place since 2016. It aims to bring together manufacturers, producers and researchers who seek to establish collaborations between the main actors in the value chain, and involve other strategic partners in the process.
Filipe Neves dos Santos, head of the project and researcher at CRIIS, presented the project during the pitch “SCORPION Project: Cost effective robots for smart precision spraying”, in a session included in the scientific workshop that took place on February 7, focusing on the safety and integrity of robots in agriculture.
In addition to this presentation, the CRIIS team (which also included André Aguiar, André Baltazar, Domingos Bento, Luís Santos and Tatiana Pinho) and TEC4AGRO-FOOD (André Sá) present at the event carried out two demonstrations of the WETA spray robot, called “Vineyard: inter-row tillage and spraying” – showcasing the latest technological results of the SCORPION project, i.e., an autonomous platform capable of performing precision monitoring and spraying tasks in terms of permanent and tree crops, e.g., vineyards.
The WETA robot stood out for being the only solution presented that performs precision spraying in the context of hillside viticulture. “This solution sparked the interest of several participants in the event, allowing us to expand INESC TEC’s already vast network of contacts”, said Filipe Santos.
The demonstrations took place on February 8 and 9, at a dedicated area outside – where more than 20 robotic platforms were tested, in real agricultural conditions. These actions were performed in liaison with TEYME, a Spanish pulverisers company that is one of the project’s partners.
Filipe Neves dos Santos, also a TEC4AGRO-FOOD coordinator, explained the importance of attending this type of initiatives: “FIRA is the world reference event in terms of robotics for agriculture; in this sense, it is a very relevant space to showcase the work developed by the Laboratory of Robotics and IoT for Smart Precision Agriculture and Forestry. The event welcomes the state-of-the-art innovations in agricultural and robotics automation, and our participation emphasises INESC TEC position in this sector”.
Considering that INESC TEC has participated in FIRA since its first edition, Filipe Santos mentioned that “this year, and thanks to the demonstrations in a real environment, the participants were able to observe the potential of the solutions presented”.
The seventh edition of World FIRA took place in person, welcoming close to 2000 people.
The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC.