AI4EU Cafe: Project VINUM: Towards Automated Pruning of Grapevines


This AI4EU Café will present Dr. Claudio Semini (Head of the Dynamic Legged Systems (DLS) lab at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia).
Grapevine (Vitis) is considered to be one of the major fruit crops worldwide based on hectares cultivated and economic value. While the automation of non-selective vineyard operations has allowed to increase production and reduce costs, there are several selective operations that are difficult to automate. The VINUM project (a collaboration between Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and the Università Cattolica del Sacro
Cuore) tackles the problem of automating winter pruning of grapevines.
This talk presents the current progress of the project. I will introduce the overall system consisting of a mobile robot, a manipulator arm with electric shears and perception system, as well as onboard computation and AI. I will illustrate how we use machine learning to perform segmentation and plant organ classification to create a representative model of the grapevine. Pruning rules developed by expert pruners are then used to detect the best pruning points that the manipulator arm uses to perform the cuts. Both wheeled and legged robots are currently evaluated as the mobile platform. Legged robots are promising due to their higher mobility on rough terrains.

Short bio:

Dr. Claudio Semini (MSc 2005, PhD 2010) is the head of the Dynamic Legged Systems (DLS) lab ( at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

(IIT) that developed a number of high-performance hydraulic robots, including HyQ, HyQ2Max, and HyQReal. He holds an MSc degree from ETH Zurich in electrical engineering and information technology. He spent 2 years in Tokyo for his research: MSc thesis at the Hirose Lab at Tokyo Tech and staff engineer at the Toshiba R&D center in Kawasaki working on mobile service robotics. During his PhD and subsequent PostDoc at IIT, he developed the quadruped robot HyQ and worked on its control. Since

2012 he leads the DLS lab. Claudio Semini is the author and co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in international journals and conferences. He is also a co-founder of the Technical Committee on Mechanisms and Design of the IEEE-RAS Society. He is/was the coordinator/partner of several EU-, National and Industrial projects (including HyQ-REAL, INAIL Teleop, Moog@IIT joint lab, VINUM, etc). His research interests include the design and control of highly dynamic and versatile legged robots for field application in real-world operations, locomotion, agricultural robotics, and others.


Claudio Semini