Hydroponics is a sustainable and profitable technique method for growing plants that only uses water and minerals and does not require soil, saving on the available space for growing plants and also enabling more kinds of plants to grow within a relatively small area.

The spread of such systems is slowed by the variety of plants, which makes the automation of quality assurance difficult, not to mention the fact that in most cases human intervention is required to ensure that packaging standards are met. To achieve effective automation, such a system would require the involvement of robots.

The project in question is coordinated by the industry robotics company Hepenix Kft., while Green Drops Farm Kft. a company specializing in hydroponics, is also a member. Within ELKH SZTAKI, the project is led by Research Laboratory on Engineering & Management Intelligence research fellow Imre Paniti.

The goal of this project is to integrate commercially available sensors with a robotic gripper and additional protective equipment designed for this new application, as well as to create and also validate a safety validation protocol for selected scenarios by applying a mobile robot platform with a cobot arm in a vertically designed hydroponic system.

The results from HydroCobotics may enhance the possibilities of hydroponic systems to make this already environmentally friendly and efficient plant production system even more popular. The nine-month long H2020 cascade project began on 1 January 2021.