Experimental development of collection and preparation of tomato branches using robots


The AGRONAUTA Research Project (Automation of agronomic work in intensive agricultural exploitation through robotics), is an experimental development project whose challenge is to transform and revolutionize the productive model of tomato in branch, through a global and multidisciplinary approach , which will allow to mark a cutting-edge and innovative technological solution: the collection and preparation of tomato branches in situ (in the greenhouse) through a mobile robotic system, supported by an intelligent production environment.

The project to be developed in a time frame of 4 years from 2015, will be executed in cooperation by 7 entities: SERFRUIT, S.A. (Coordinator), Tecnología de Automatización y Control, TAUCON, S.A., Ingeniería de Aplicaciones, S.A., Grupo HISPATEC Informática Empresarial, S.A.U., Novedades Agrícolas, S.A., Sistema AZUD, S.A. and ULMA Packaging, S.COOP., which will have the collaboration of 7 Research Organizations among which are: Tecnova Foundation, University of Almería, Tecnalia Research & Innovation Foundation, University of Girona, CEBAS-CSIC, ULMA Technological Center and IK4-IKERLAN.

Its development will involve the mobilization of a private investment of more than 7 million euros, which will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the 2014-2020 Multi-Regional Operational Program for Smart Growth.

The sum of the efforts of the consortium entities, will be directed to the development of a new transgressive productive system, based on a mobile robot for use in intensive tomato cultivation, capable of performing intelligent analysis and harvesting tasks, supported under a cutting-edge automation and control environment that simplifies the production and accessibility of the robot, providing efficiency, cost reduction, development potential, flexibility and reliability of the system.

In this sense, AGRONAUTA proposes as a global goal the development of a revolutionary production system prototype in intensive production under plastic, which will mark an avant-garde and innovative technological solution at international level, with the commitment to establish a clear advance and improvement, developing unique technologies and techniques of plant production, such as climate control, irrigation, automation, intelligence, artificial vision and robotization and; With the objective of closing the production cycle, the system will be completed with the development of new packaging systems to be installed in the farm itself and a global production management through demand management and forecasting software.

The budget is more than 7 million euros, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Multiregional Operational Program for Smart Growth (CIEN Strategic Program).

Agronauta is in itself a project of technology development but also of agglutination of systems that are currently at the forefront of its sectors such as climate control, artificial vision, robotization…

The final closure of the innovation cycle does not end with automated collection, but covers the part of packaging and demand management and forecasting software. And in this last part is where from Hispatec we have much to say.