Location: Upson 106 Conference Room Next to the Lounge
Abstract: Although the majority of the human diet stems from staple grains, approximately 75% of agricultural crops needs some amount of pollination. Global reliance on crop pollination is expanding, yet farmers in many parts of the world suffer from increasingly unpredictable yields stemming from dwindling populations of wild pollinators and unsustainable losses of managed bees. We are launching a research project in which we aim to integrate robotic and bio-hybrid agents into the crop ecosystem, to enable observation, estimation, and optimization of yield in pollen-limited crops. The core research challenge is to enable scalable and robust coordination of ubiquitous swarms composed of intelligent entities with varying degrees of capability, controllability, and cost. The project will revolve around a scheduling framework that assimilates and dispatches information and tasks at different levels of granularity, to permit robust progress by diverse agents in the face of failures and dynamic environments; we are also examining autonomous robots (drones and rovers) for managed pollination.