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NWO Smart Industry grant for SMART-AGENTS project

13 May 2020

NWO has granted a Smart Industry grant of EUR 600,000 to Dr. Kerstin Bunte, Dr. Michael H.F. Wilkinson, Dr. Ajay Giri Prakash Kottapalli and Prof. Bayu Jayawardhana of the University of Groningen. In the Smart Industry program, scientists and companies work together on projects at the intersection of big data, smart industry and the creative industry. The team will conduct research into developing symbiotic networks of collaborative agents (drones) as a solution for logistics and agriculture. It is an interdisciplinary project between the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence and the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen.

Industrial environments like agriculture and logistics are facing challenges when it comes to autonomous technical solutions. The sheer scale of greenhouse production makes harvest forecast, pest control and monitoring the photosynthetic efficiency difficult, costly and hazardous. Similarly, large warehouses contain large-scale inventories, which need to be managed and monitored regularly to optimize logistic processes. Both environments are facing challenges when it comes to autonomous technical solutions. There has been a growing demand for mobile agents that can perform various tasks. In particular multi-platform Cyber-Physical-Systems (CPSs), in which various agents contribute to a network that solves multiple goals simultaneously.

Fully automated system

The SMART-AGENTS project led by Dr. Bunte will develop a robust fully automated system that uses a collaborative network of small autonomous drones. With their equipment and capabilities, the small drones contribute to solve key tasks. The research project concerns multiple interdisciplinary aspects. The researchers focus on the development of novel biomimetic self-powered micro sensors and the integration of multiple sensors for robust navigation and control in dynamic environments. In addition, they are working on real-time 5G communication and edge computing to provide scalability and enable integration of multiple agents.

Even when dark and hazy

The SMART-AGENTS platform enables the integration of multiple sensors, including micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensor arrays, cameras, wireless signatures and magnetic field measurements. 3D flow-based images of surroundings enable the control of the collaborative agents even in dark and hazy conditions.

collaborative network of small autonomous drones
collaborative network of small autonomous drones
Last modified:13 May 2020 3.34 p.m.
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