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### euRathlon 2015 announces Grand Challenge winners

by   -   September 29, 2015

Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima accident, the euRathlon competition is the first outdoor competition where teams of land, sea and air robots must cooperate in a realistic disaster-response scenario. Following participation in the trials and sub-challenges, six multi-domain teams attempted the Grand Challenge, where they were required to locate missing workers, map a building and identify critical hazards, and inspect land and underwater pipes and stem a leak, all within 100 minutes. Watch the Grand Challenge video recaps and find out the winning teams …

### Day Four at euRathlon 2015: Video recap

by   -   September 25, 2015

DRC-HUBO robot from Team KAIST, winner of DARPA Robotics Challenge 2015, drops in for a visit on Day Four of eutRathlon 2015.

### Day Three at euRathlon 2015: Video recap

by   -   September 24, 2015

The first day of euRathlon 2015 two-domain sub-challenges started with the land and air (L+A) combined scenario, followed in the afternoon by the sea and land (S+L), where robots had to search for missing workers and leaks, inspect the building and close valves on land and underwater. Only ten teams passed to this second round of the competition, creating a total of 6 multi-domain teams — find out the winners of these trials and watch the video recap …

### Robots in Depth: Gregory Dudek on field robotics

by and   -   September 24, 2015

Robots in Depth is a new video series featuring interviews with researchers, entrepreneurs, VC investors, and policy makers in robotics, hosted by Per Sjöborg. In this first episode, Per speaks to Gregory Dudek, Research Director of the McGill Mobile Robotics Lab, about field robotics.

### Day Two at euRathlon 2015: Video recap

by   -   September 23, 2015

Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima accident, euRathlon is a civilian outdoor robotics competition focused on realistic cooperative disaster response scenarios. On the second day of single-domain trials, the land, sea and air robots faced three new challenges. Sea robots had to search for a leak and close a valve, while land robots had to inspect the inside of the building and close the valves in the machine room. Aerial robots had to inspect the building and look for a safe path to the machine room for a land robot. The winners of the first euRathlon 2015 trials were unveiled and a series of robotics talks took place at Piombino Castle.

### Day One at euRathlon 2015: Video recap

by   -   September 21, 2015

Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima accident, euRathlon is a civilian outdoor robotics competition focused on realistic cooperative disaster response scenarios. In the first day of the trials, aerial, ground and marine robots had to deal with the very real conditions of a demanding coastal environment. Watch the Day One recap video.

### Coming of age: Clearpath’s Ryan Gariepy on growing a robotics startup

by   -   September 1, 2015

Launched in 2009 by a group of Waterloo engineering students, Clearpath’s unmistakeable bright yellow and black robots have become synonymous with unmanned vehicle research in university research labs around the world. Now, as the field of robotics matures, Clearpath is forging into industrial applications, too. We caught up with Clearpath’s CTO Ryan Gariepy at the 2015 Field and Service Robotics conference (FSR), to talk about their roots in research, the role of ROS and open source in their business model, and the challenges and opportunities of launching a robotics startup in Canada.

ep186

### Towards Automating Fieldwork, with Hans-Peter Grothaus

#### CLAAS

interview by   -   July 10, 2015

Transcript included.

In this episode, Per Sjöborg talks to Hans-Peter Grothaus, from about automation in agriculture.

### Book Review: ‘Practical Field Robotics’ by Robert Sturges

by   -   July 7, 2015

Practical Field Robotics: A Systems Approach by Robert H. Sturges, Jr. from Virginia Tech is an interesting book about how to design a field robot from a high level systems approach, and how to build a robotic lawnmower.

### 10th annual Field Robot Event underway

by   -   June 28, 2012

This year’s Field Robot Event (FRE 2012) began today and runs through Saturday. I will bring together what reports I am able to find once the dust settles, but meanwhile you can view videos from past years’ events by entering “Field Robot Event” in YouTube’s search field.

### Australian research organization’s description of agricultural robotics

by   -   January 9, 2012

On a web page describing their current efforts in agricultural robotics, CSIRO ICT Centre describes the focus area this way:

The application of field robotics to agriculture is an emerging area of interest for our researchers. The increasing demands on our agricultural sector are forcing farmers to consider robotic assistance where before they worked alone. In recent years GPS guided tractors have become commercially available and are now seen commonly in many countries in the world. These systems still rely on the farmer to supervise them – normally from tractor’s cab. It is hoped that the next generation of farm robots will be more aware of their immediate surroundings and will be capable of mapping obstacles and navigating autonomously. Unlike field robotics in other domains such as mining or the military (where safety and the removal of people from hazardous situations is a major driver), agricultural robotics will only make sense when the business case means that using robots will save money when compared to farming in a traditional manner.

### The importance of robotics to the achievement of sustainability

by   -   September 28, 2011

In a mid-August post bearing the same title, on my primary blog, I stated:

I firmly believe that (short of convincing the vast majority of people to return to subsistence farming, something which could only be accomplished through intense coercion) robotics is vitally important to achieving sustainability.

Realizing others’ mileage might vary, I took that post to a conferencing system I’ve been on for over twenty years and asked whether the notion seemed counterintuitive to anyone there. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, it did. In fact, I was probably the only participant in the conversation for whom the idea wasn’t at least a bit odd.

Understand that we’re not talking about your standard social network fare, here. The other participants in the conversation are, to a person, all intelligent and (otherwise) well informed.

Seeing that the conversation had pretty well run its course, I concluded with the following:

It’s unfortunate that so much of robotics is weapons research, and even more unfortunate that the associations most people have with robots and robotics is of clunky machines that are unintentionally dangerous. The clunkiness is a passing phase, and already an anachronism in many cases, but I can see why some prefer to avoid the word “robot”, talking instead about intelligent or adaptive machines. In Japan they speak of RTs, Robotic Technologies, which makes for a nice refocusing in my humble opinion. Robotic technologies find there way into all sorts of objects not usually considered robots. A more general restatement of the proposition I laid out [here] would be that robotic technologies are essential to the achievement of sustainability. This might be an easier sell, however I really do mean robots, complete with interchangeable manipulators on the ends of arms with at least a few degrees of freedom, and operation that is sufficiently autonomous to break the 1-to-1 correspondence between machine and operator, with the machines conceivably running 24/7 during the busiest season (and maybe drawing some power from the grid to keep them running through the night). It’s my belief that the use of such machines is the only way we’ll ever manage to bring best practices to the vast majority of land in production, and that the best that is possible without them will prove unsustainable in the long run.

That this point of view was at least initially counterintuitive for the unusually astute social environment in which I posed it means to me that there’s still a great deal of work to be done to repair the perceptual damage done by the preponderance of robot portrayals in fiction and to jumpstart creative imagination for how autonomous machinery might help us surmount the difficult challenges before us.

### On the meaning of “cultivation”

by   -   August 22, 2006

As it commonly applies to raising plants, “cultivation” usually refers to a process involving the manipulation of soil, to incorporate plant residues into the soil after the previous harvest, to prepare a seedbed for new planting, or between the rows of a growing crop to suppress weeds. That aspect, the manipulation of soil, isn’t particularly emphasized, it’s just assumed, like breathing; it’s seen as being inextricably part of the process, not every time the farmer enters a field, but sooner or later, and repeatedly. “Tillage” is a synonym for this sense of the word.

There’s a more general sense of “cultivation” that simply refers to raising plants, and which applies as much to the practices of nomadic tribes, involving no more tillage than poking seed holes in the ground with a sharp stick, as it does to agriculture as it is commonly practiced today.

It’s that second, more general sense of the word that’s intended here, as the potential advantages of using robotics in horticulture and agriculture stem largely from making it possible to dispense with the other sense of the word, tillage.

That’s not to say that a cultibot wouldn’t perform soil manipulation, rather what’s expected is that it will resemble what a gardener performs with a hoe, trowel, and (occasionally) shovel, instead of what a farmer performs with a plow, and that the total amount of energy involved in performing it will be a small fraction of what the current practice of farming consumes – and the rate of energy consumption even lower, since autonomous operation will allow it to be distributed over more time, perhaps even 24/7. (This combination of lower energy requirements and more time should make solar panels a practical power source.)

There’s yet another sense of the word, as it applies reflexively or to human relationships, as in the cultivation of patience or friendship, which should at least inform how the vision of cultibotics is understood. In its fully realized state, a cultibot would not only raise plants and produce food, but it would tend the land in all its aspects, specifically including as it also serves as habitat for wild species, both plants and animals. This could be seen as cultivating a field’s participation in the larger environment, making a little room among the crops for other life.

Reposted from Cultibotics.

### podcast

inVia Robotics: Product-Picking Robots for the Warehouse
October 7, 2019

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