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Dr. Pablo Gonzalez-de-Santos




TOWARDS THE FULLY AUTOMATED FARM

By Pablo Gonzalez-de-Santos
Centre for Automation and Robotics (UPM-CSIC), Spain.


Summary

Producing enough food to meet the ever-growing demand of a rising worldwide population is an exceptional challenge to human initiative. To succeed in this vital objective, we need to build more efficient yet sustainable food production systems. For accomplishing that objective, the Precision Farming concept emerged, two decades ago, agglutinating a set of methods and techniques to manage variations in the field accurately to produce more and better food with fewer resources and reducing production costs, as well.
Fortunately, the basic technology to do so is available currently and farmers are facing a new agricultural revolution accepting new significant technologies: global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) for high precision positioning of vehicles, intelligent sensors, advanced actuators and a wide range of ICT applications combined with new methods for system integration. Furthermore, automation and robotization of agricultural tasks can help a lot in achieving the objectives from the improvement of individual components up to the configuration of autonomous fleets of robots capable of working cooperatively. The very final objective would be the implementation of a Fully Automated Farm resembling the paradigm of the fully automated factory, where humans are relegated to mere supervisors.
This talk will give a glance from the first ideas and developments on robotics and automation for agriculture to the latest advances, presenting the results of one of the first attempts (EC FP7 project – RHEA: Robot Fleets for Highly Effective Agriculture and Forestry Management) to integrate high-precision positioning systems, intelligent sensors, ICT applications and robotics into a fleet of autonomous robots for pest control as an initial true step toward the farms of the future.

Biography

Dr. Pablo Gonzalez-de-Santos is a Research Professor at the Centre for Automation and Robotics - an association of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). He received his B.E. in Physics and Ph.D. in Automatic Control from the University of Valladolid, Spain, in 1980 and 1986, respectively. In 1987, he joined the Institute of Industrial Automation of CSIC as a scientist where he was involved actively in the design and development of industrial robots (manipulators, intelligent assists devices, etc.) and service robots, specifically on walking robots, developing specific legged robots for intervention on hazardous environments, welding tasks in ship erection processes, educational and basic research purposes and humanitarian de-mining. From 1900 to 1991, he worked as a visiting scientist at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University being involved in the AMBLER Walking Machine project, funded by NASA. From 2007 to 2010, Prof. Gonzalez-de-Santos served as the director of the Department of Automatic Control at the Institute of Industrial Automation (CSIC).
In 2010, he joined the Center for Automation and Robotics (CSIC-UPM) in Madrid, Spain, as the director of the Department for Applied Robotics, continuing his activities in Field Robotics. Since then, he has been mainly involved in the coordination of the FP7 project RHEA (Robot Fleets for Highly Effective Agriculture and Forestry Management).
Prof. Gonzalez-de-Santos has published 63 articles indexed in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR), a book on Quadrupedal Locomotion and edited five conference proceedings. He is currently serving as Editor-in-chief at the International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems and he is a member of the Editorial Boards of the journals Industrial Robot and Advances in Robotics Research.

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