Innovative robotics solutions and autonomous tasks for agro-forestry applications



Lorenzo Marconi

Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering "Gugliemo Marconi"
University of Bologna, Italy


Dario Mengoli

Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering "Gugliemo Marconi"
University of Bologna, Italy


Robotics and automation are constantly increasing their influence in different fields and the agricultural context is one those that can take advantage of new technologies by improving efficiency, productivity and quality of the crops.

Technology, and in particular automation, is important to provide a cost-effective integration to human labor and thus increase competitiveness and sustainability of farms. Small-scale autonomous robots can be used to address specific application related to precision agriculture techniques, where the use of fertilizers, pesticides or the execution of other in-field tasks may be automatically confined on specific zones or trees.

The development of versatile robotic platforms or intelligent implements can enable innovation of the small/medium agricultural companies that are relevant in the country agrarian scenario.


Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Innovative robotic platforms;
  • Robot localization and autonomous navigation;
  • Automation in agriculture;
  • On-board sensor data analysis for farm vehicles;
  • Smart implements;
  • Innovations and technology in orchards and open-field crops.


Lorenzo Marconi, received the M.S. degree in electrical engineering and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, in 1995 and 1998, respectively. Since 1995, he has been with the Department of Electronics, Computer Science, and Systems at the University of Bologna where is now full professor. He has held visiting positions at various academic/research international institutions. He is coauthor of more than 200 technical publications on the subject of linear and nonlinear feedback design published on international journals, books and conference proceedings. His current research interests include nonlinear control, output regulation, control of autonomous vehicles, fault detection and isolation, fault tolerant control. Dr. Marconi received the Outstanding Application Paper Award in 2005 from IFAC for a coauthored paper published on Automatica, and the 2014 IEEE Control Systems Magazine Outstanding Paper Award for the best paper published on the magazine in the period 2012–2013. He is a member of the IEEE Control System Society, of the Control System Society Conference Editorial Board, and the Chair of the IFAC Technical Committee on Nonlinear Control Systems.

Dario Mengoli, is currently a PhD student in Automation and Operational research at the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Information Engineering of the University of Bologna.
He received his master’s degree in computer science engineering from the same university in 2008. He then worked as a freelance consultant until 2019, while he was involved in several research activities on robotics and agricultural task automation.
Dario’s main research topics include autonomous navigation, prototypes development, machine learning and automation, with particular focus on mobile ground and aerial robotic platforms and software development. He is currently deeply involved in an innovative orchard project, supported by the Italian Ministry of Research funding programme to departments of excellence, with the aim of creating a reliable sprayer and mulcher robot to be integrated into a new concept of cultivar for apple production. Dario has also worked with emerging machine learning techniques, on the application of artificial intelligence and image classification algorithms to solve agricultural needs.

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