Technical Comittee on: Agricultural Robotics and Automation
Program March 2015

Avital Bechar, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, ARO, Israel: Autonomous and Human-Robot Collaborative Systems for Field Operations in Orchards, Greenhouses, and Field Crops

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Robots are perceptive machines that can be programmed to perform a variety of agricultural tasks, such as cultivating, transplanting, spraying, selective harvesting, etc. Agricultural robots have the potential to enhance the quality of fresh produce, lower production costs, and reduce the drudgery of manual labor. In agriculture, however, the real-world environment is highly unstructured, autonomous robots still yield inadequate results, and the promise of autonomous operations has fallen short of expectations in such environments.

In the talk I will present new concepts and approaches we are developing for the operation of agricultural robots and their implementation. I will also show the R&D activity conducted at the Agricultural Robotics Lab (ARL) including a few of the ongoing projects: an autonomous greenhouse sprayer for specialty crops; a human-robot system for selective melon collection; an autonomous system for monitoring of diseases in greenhouses; and a human-robot collaborative system for selective pruning of deciduous trees.


Avital Bechar is the founder and head of the Agricultural Robotics Lab (ARL) at the Institute of Agriculture Engineering (IAE), Israel. He is a senior research scientist and currently the head of the department of production, growing and environmental engineering at IAE, Agriculture Research Organization (ARO). He holds a B.Sc. degree in Aerospace Engineering and a M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering, both from the Technion, Israel, and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Ben-Gurion University, Israel. During his sabbatical leave at Purdue University in 2011-2012, he was an adjunct professor at the school of IE.

Dr. Bechar is the chairman of the Israeli Society of Agricultural Engineering (ISAE), a member of the EurAgEng and CIGR Societies (Agricultural Engineering Societies) and a member of the IEEE SMC and the IEEE R&A Societies.

At ARL, he is conducting fundamental and applied research in robotics for agriculture, human-robot collaborative systems, sensor technologies for agricultural robots and developing new concepts and approaches for the operation and development of agricultural robots. He developed unique algorithms and methodologies to evaluate and optimize the performance of human-robot integrated systems; an innovative supervised-learning adaptive navigation algorithms for robots in greenhouses; and a new technology of real-time human-robot collaborative system for selective tree pruning task.

Last modified: mrt. 2015 by Eldert van Henten and Sam Blaauw