Agricultural Robotics: learning from Industry 4.0 and moving into the future

The workshop on “Agricultural Robotics: learning from Industry 4.0 and moving into the future” will take place in conjunction with IROS 2017, September 24-27, 2017, Vancouver, Canada.


Agriculture provides humans with food and raw materials although with a large impact on the environment. Precision farming is a promising pathway to increase the sustainability of farming by increasing farm profitability, reducing manual labour, and reducing environmental impact. In particular in is expected that roboticized precision farming solutions through high precision targeted interventions will increase yield and create a more viable ecological solution. Whilst robotics is moving out of the lab into industrial settings, many recent advances in robotics have not yet found their way into the agricultural domain. Agriculture demands high levels of intelligence, mobility, autonomy, manipulation and robustness. While subsets of those characteristics have been targeted by the industrial-, field- and spacerobotics communities no all-encompassing solutions have yet been reported. The successes of intelligent robots in semi-structured and semi-controlled industrial environments give rise to optimism about robots working in uncontrolled agricultural environments.

Learning from Industry 4.0, agricultural robots will have to possess attributes such as modularity, cyber-physical monitoring, decentralized decision making and Internet of Things (IoT) implementation which are the key features of the ongoing industrial revolution:

  • Modular structured agricultural systems using tools according to the examined agricultural application.
  • Cyber-physical systems monitoring providing supervision and control over various physical processes.
  • Decentralized decision making by using external computational resources while simplifying system requirements and design.
  • Implementation the Internet of Things using information distributed between sensors and other robotic systems in the same area of operation, and applying big data analytics for taking decisions.

Robots for this envisioned future farming require advances in a broad range of topics that surpass current state-of-the-art capabilities. This workshop aspires to shed light in the latest advancements towards this goal and open the discussion about the required future steps and research directions.

Topics of interest

The workshop will cover, but not necessarily restrict to, the following topics:

  • Roboticized precision farming.
  • Farming sustainability, profitability and viable ecological solution.
  • Repurposing of industrial-, field- and space-robots for agriculture.
  • Analogies between Industry 4.0 and agricultural applications.
  • Modular structured agricultural systems.
  • Cyber-physical system agricultural production monitoring.
  • Decentralized decision and computation for agricultural applications.
  • Internet of Things on agriculture sensoring devices.
  • Novel perception for agricultural robots including passive and active methods.
  • Long-term autonomy and navigation in unstructured environments.
  • Adaptive sampling and informative data collection.
  • Deployment strategies and user interfaces for end-users.

Target audience

The target audience primarily consists of agricultural robotics and precision agriculture researchers and developers, however it also includes researchers and industrial partners from communities such as industrial-, field- and space-robotics. These fields face similar problems. This workshop can form a connection between these communities, while bringing more researchers to the topic of precision agriculture. Moreover, this workshop can become a hub among technology providers and researchers, thus providing a stepping stone for applying technologies provided from research into the field.

Schedule, speakers and organization

Check the schedule/speakers and organization.