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Novel paradigms and approaches towards artificial intelligence-driven autonomous robots

ARISE is one of four projects awarded funding under the Topic HORIZON-CL4-2023-DIGITAL-EMERGING-01-01 - Novel paradigms and approaches towards AI-driven autonomous robots (AI, data and robotics partnership) (RIA).  It aims to introduce a combination of perception and control modules around a reconfigurable robotic manipulator, enabling a step change in the level of automation of complex manipulation tasks.

With labour shortages posing a significant hurdle, integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics into the energy and agriculture sectors is imperative for maintaining competitiveness and leadership.  The global market for solar farm automation was valued at EUR 220.6m in 2020 and is projected to reach EUR 316.3m by 2027, with an anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3%.  Automation technologies promise to enhance efficiency, reduce operational costs, and expand access to clean power in the solar energy sector.  Similarly, addressing the food security challenge is crucial, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicating that feeding the projected population of 9.1 billion by 2050 will necessitate a 27.5% increase in food production.  Hydroponic techniques offer a promising solution, given their ability to accelerate crop growth and boost yields.  The global hydroponics market, valued at EUR 1.95b in 2020, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.7% from 2021 to 2028, largely driven by advancements in automation technology.

Within this context, ARISE is dedicated to tackling pressing challenges within the two pivotal industries of energy and agriculture by harnessing the potential of AI and robotics.  The ARISE toolchain will be integrated and validated in five, real use case scenarios including installation and repair, and transplanting and harvesting tasks, in solar and hydroponic farms respectively.  TWI Hellas is the Lead Partner for the project, coordinating all management activities, and leading on project dissemination, impact analysis and development of policy recommendations for the ARISE toolchain. Technical areas TWI Hellas will input to include:

  • Preliminary analysis of the manipulation tasks that correspond to the five use cases, and their complexity in terms of contacts and force interaction
  • Determining the hardware and software architecture of the ARISE platform
  • Encoder integration under the design and fabrication of the soft pneumatic actuators
  • Incorporating and positioning the cameras on the manipulator and mobile base
  • Supporting the collection of demonstration data and semantic annotation as part of the methodology developed to automate the storage of the semantic knowledge extracted from visual human demonstrations
  • Define sensor interfaces and support object semantic segmentation

Partners: Hellenic Mediterranean University, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Technical University of Darmstadt, CEA, ALSYMEX, PLAIXUS, BENDABL, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Spanish National Research Council, UBITECH, PROBOTICA, TELEKINESIS, ELVAN, University of Essex, JEPCO and TWI Hellas.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.