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A robot from the scratch in 5 months. How agronomy students could master agricultural equipment innovation

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Education and training are identified as key elements to support precision agriculture in Europe and operationalize the transition towards sustainable production systems. In particular, the French agricultural machinery sector is aware that leveraging precision agriculture requires a closer consideration of the farmers’ needs. Hence, educational programs are expected to bridge the gap between agriculture and machinery design and innovation. In this paper we will discuss the learning process that led a group of students in agronomy at mastering robotics and how this could help improving educational programs on agricultural equipment. The context was a competition organized by a French applied agricultural research organization that challenged students to build a robot for the mechanical weeding of sugar beet. The teachers adopted a design thinking approach, supporting the students only if needed, rather promoting the students’ appropriation of the subject. The farming experience of the students allowed them to choose the simplest sensor, which used the plants as physical boundaries of the robot navigation corridor. This simple and robust solution exploited the agronomic characteristics of the sugar beet that is sown on straight lines and it is not damaged by physical contact. Furthermore, this choice was suited for working in field conditions and easily understandable by the practitioners. In conclusion, we discuss the lessons learned about the environmental and educational conditions that allowed this experience and that could help agricultural students and farmers at mastering new technologies and equipment innovation.

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A robot from the scratch in 5 months. How agronomy students could master agricultural equipment innovation

  1. 1. A robot from the scratch in 5 months How agronomy students could master agricultural equipment innovation Davide RIZZO, Mehdi JABER, Andrii YATSKUL, Benoît DETOT, Anne COMBAUD A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 1 @pievarino #ChaireAMNT
  2. 2. UniLaSalle A few words about us A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services ©DelphineDIGEON,2017CCBY-SA
  3. 3. Institut Polytechnique UniLaSalle A private higher education institute 2800 students 3 integrated degree programs in Food & Health, Geology & Environment, Agronomy and other Bachelor and Master degree programs 4 Academic and Industrial Chairs 4 research groups and several facilities member of the Lasallian education network 3 campuses in northern France: Beauvais, Rouen, Rennes A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 3
  4. 4. About us Interdisciplinary research group working on organizational innovation Academic research and education team adressing the innovation of agricultural equipments and technology Collaborative innovation centre for agriculture based in Beauvais (northern France) © Davide Rizzo, 2018 CC BY-NC-SA A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 4
  5. 5. Background & challenges Educational programs are expected to bridge the gap between agriculture and technological innovation A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services ©DavideRIZZO,2017CCBY-SA
  6. 6. Encouraging innovation https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/future-cap-whats-cooking-next-cap_en “ The future Common Agricultural Policy will be much more focused on encouraging innovation (for example through identifying where there is a common need that technology might be able to meet) and on helping especially small and medium-sized farms to join the digital farming revolution.” ©xaviergpCCBY-NChttps://flic.kr/p/EYLGYj A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 6
  7. 7. ©NestaCCBY-NC-SAhttps://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/future_farms_infographic_precision_agriculture.jpg A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 7
  8. 8. Farm technology Important subset of the agrifood tech landscape, often referred to as ‘agtech.’ Cosgrove E, Leclerc R, Burwood-Taylor L, Chauhan R (2018) AgFunder Agrifood Tech Investing Report 2017. AgFunder Farm Robotics, Mechanization & Equipment. On-farm machinery, automation, drone manufacturers, grow equipment Farm Management Software, Sensing & IoT. Ag data capturing devices, decision support software, big data analytics Novel Farming Systems, Ag Biotechnology, Agribusiness Marketplaces, Bioenergy & Biomaterials, Farm-to-Consumer eGrocery, etc. A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 8
  9. 9. Understand to trust 9 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2014-2019/vestager/announcements/clearing-path-innovation_en https://goo.gl/images/v31SZD Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition Web Summit, Lisbon, 7 November 2017 « … more and more, we’re being asked to put our trust not just in other people, but in computers and algorithms. Algorithms most of us don't fully understand. … The biggest challenge to the future of innovation … it's whether that new technology can succeed in winning the public’s trust. »
  10. 10. Breakthrough changes Agriculture is challenged by breakthrough changes that require farmers to expand their knowledge to be able to master recent farming innovations such as digital machine control, embedded sensors, big data management. ©PETROSS,TERRA-MEPP&WEST,CC-BYhttps://flic.kr/p/XavvBA A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 10 Among the missions of
  11. 11. Our aim 11 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services To present the learning environment and the lessons learned by a group of students that participated to a robot competition and succeeded the challenge. We will discuss how this experience could improve educational and training programs and help participant at mastering innovation in agricultural equipment. ©MehdiJABER,2017©MaximeAgnes,2017
  12. 12. Learning environment Key for the successful problem solving and innovation processes in agriculture and rural areas A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services ©MaximeAGNES,2017
  13. 13. Course of study in agronomy 13 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services www.unilasalle.fr
  14. 14. Course of study in agronomy 14 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 3 years of Bachelor level Fundamental and applied knowledge. Background in agricultural sciences and agronomy, which is expected to be sufficient to run a farm autonomously. 2 years of Master level Professionalization: applied programs covering the main sectors in agriculture, agronomy and the food industry. In 2016 a new specialization was started in agricultural equipment and new technologies (AENT) 1st AENT graduation was composed by 5 students and sons of farmers with a solid background in farming. 3 semesters of courses & applied projects + 1 semester for the graduation internship www.unilasalle.fr
  15. 15. AENT: theory & learning by doing A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 1st semester: 2 projects Defining the specifications of an innovative tractor with students from an engineering school in mechanics.  experiencing the interdisciplinary dialogue and sector-specific expertise. Database of the agricultural robots available in France.  The database led the students to define what a robot is, then to collect and organize technical information about robots already on the market or existing as prototypes.© Davide RIZZO, SIMA 2017 CC BY 2016 15
  16. 16. The concept robot H3VR 16 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services Body frame 80*60*65 cm (20 kg) Soil-vehicle interface Plastic tracks (preferred to low pressure tires) Tool 7 Row hoes for 60 cm weeding tools and equipment hitch Flex sensor mounted on a rubber strip Arduino (physical programmable circuit board) Motorization Direct current electric engins 24W Energy Electric batteries 12 V, 7 Ah, ~3h life Electronics Sonar sensors for obstacle detection HRV3 photo credit : © Maxime Agnes, 2017 2nd semester project 2017
  17. 17. (H3VR: their surnames initials) 17 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services NoémieFayolleetTanguyDhelin.FranceAgricole,2017https://youtu.be/BI4xdYHfF-g R H H H V
  18. 18. Open source documentation 18 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services http://agrilab.unilasalle.fr/ The importance to formalize and transfer knowledge
  19. 19. Designed & developped in the field 19 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services © AENT 157, 2018 CC-BY-NC-SA. Source: http://agrilab.unilasalle.fr/projets/projects/rob-olympiades-2017-unilasalle/wiki Dynamometer tool traction test Engine test in sugar beet field A B
  20. 20. Evaluated by experts in the field 20 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services NoémieFayolleetTanguyDhelin.FranceAgricole,2017https://youtu.be/BI4xdYHfF-g
  21. 21. Lesson learned Keep technology simple and robust A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services ©MehdiJABER,2017
  22. 22. Simple, effective & affordable 22 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services « The idea was to design something simple, and effective... and, to be in the mood of time, which requires us to use less and less pesticides and herbicides, such as the glyphosate. And then, to prioritize a small machinery, more affordable in terms of use and access, which could be a new way of equipping the farms. » Excerpt from a students’ interview “Agriculture: towards an ethical robotics?” (Leblond and Voldoire, 2017) https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/itineraire-bis/agriculture-vers-la-robotique-ethique © Maxime Agnes, 2017 © Maxime Agnes, 2017
  23. 23. 3 lessons learned 23 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 1st A problem-based learning allowed to master technology innovation 2nd The practice-driven innovation enabled the interdisciplinary learning 3rd The participant-directed learning is part of a social approach “The technology used is simple and robust. The students were able to stay closer to the job of farmer and adapt this job to a robot. This gives quite interesting results” ©DavideRIZZO,SIAParis,2018,CCBY-SA Christophe Debain, 2017 Rob’Olympiades competition judge Farmers are generally attracted by the simple weeding tool Through the concept robot
  24. 24. AgriLab® open innovation platform The local territorial institutions have invested in the building of AgriLab® to boost the sustainable and open innovation of the AgriTech sector in the Hauts-de-France region © AgriLab A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 24
  25. 25. A wider context for learning by doing Do It Yourself: behaviors where "individuals engage raw and semi-raw materials and component parts to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions”1 FabLab: outreach project from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA), and became into a collaborative and global network of 1100 Fabrication Laboratories Open Source Ecology: developing a set of open source blueprints for the Global Village Construction Set². Inspiring source for the French Atelier Paysan 1 Wikipedia contributors, "Do it yourself," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Do_it_yourself&oldid=831737917(accessed 1/4/18). ² https://www.opensourceecology.org/about-overview/ InforgraphicbyJBVervaeck,CCBY-SA©AtelierPaysan,CCBY-NC-SA A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 25
  26. 26. Conclusion Take-home message A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services ©DavideRIZZO,2017CCBY-SA
  27. 27. Learning environment 27 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services It was important to provide a dedicated space and time arrangement. >> competition: breaking the routine is known to boost innovation through creativity. >> role of permanent spatial settings for innovation, especially for land based activities like agriculture ©CCBYSA,D.Rizzo,Bootcamp2017©MehdiJaber,Rob’Olympades2017
  28. 28. From education to innovation © Davide Rizzo, 2018 CC BY-NC-SA A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 28 Final goal: to ease the mastery of technologies that are currently and for the most exogenous to the agricultural sector. >> engaging students and farmers in a problem-oriented and project-based learning >> facing project management under knowledge uncertainty >> practitioner approach to contribute with solution better suited for famers >> emergence of new business models ©CCBYD.Rizzo,SIA2018©CCBYNCD.Rizzo,Bootcamp2017
  29. 29. Thank you! Any question? The Authors acknowledge the fundamental work done by the 5 students who designed and realized the robot #H3VR. Name.surname[at]unilasalle.fr @pievarinowww.unilasalle.fr A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 29 © Maxime Agnes, 2017
  30. 30. Acknowledgements. The Authors acknowledge the fundamental work done by the five AENT students (graduation year 157) also by documenting the key steps of the H3VR concept design robot. This work has been supported by Chaire Agro-Machinisme et Nouvelles Technologies, backed by UniLaSalle with the financial support from the Michelin Corporate Foundation, AGCO Massey-Ferguson, the Hauts-de-France Regional Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Author contribution. D.R. and M.J. conceptualized the study and framed the analysis of the results. M.J. curated the wiki documentation with the students. M.J. and A.Y. tutored the students’ project, with technical and pedagogical support from B.D. and A.C. Finally, D.R. wrote, revised and edited the manuscript. Suggested citation: Rizzo D, Jaber M, Yatskul A, Detot B, Combaud A (2018) A robot from the scratch in 5 months. How agronomy students could master agricultural equipment innovation. In [Editors] Farming systems: facing uncertainties and enhancing opportunities. 13th European IFSA Symposium. http://www.ifsa2018.gr/uploads/attachments/52/Theme1_Rizzo.pdf Copyright: © 2018 Rizzo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY-NS-SA 4.0 that permits free use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The use shall not be for commercial purposes and any derivate must keep the same license as the original. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ Source Availability Statement: the public documentation of the H3VR robot is available on the AgriLab® collaborative platform and might be accessed from: http://agrilab.unilasalle.fr/projets/projects/rob-olympiades-2017-unilasalle Designandlayout:DavideRizzo,1July2018 A robot from the scratch in 5 months ● RIZZO et al. 2018 Session 1.7 Learning & knowledge systems, education, extension and advisory services 30

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