Interview Series: Filipe Neves dos Santos from INESC TEC

In this edition of our interview series, we catch up with Filipe Neves dos Santos at INESC TEC to learn more about pilot 3.2.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your organisation and your involvement in the DEMETER project?  

My name is Filipe Neves dos Santos, I am a researcher and engineer passionate to develop robotics and IoT solutions to solve concrete problems of our society. Motivated by this passion, in 2014, I started a new R&D line devoted to Robotics and IoT for Smart Precision Agriculture and Forestry, at INESC TEC. INESC TEC is a private and non-profit R&D Institution specialized in ICT and robotics technologies.  At INESC TEC we are aware about the farmers needs and desires, so we are involved in DEMETER to contribute for agro-ecosystems with more interoperable and cost-effective IoT and Robotics solutions, to promote the digitization of small and medium farmer holders, making them profitable and at the same time more sustainable (environmentally and economically)  .

What pilot cluster and pilot project are you involved in/leading?

We are leading the pilot number 3.2, called Precision Farming for Mediterranean Woody Crops.

What is the objective of the pilot project?

The pilot 3.2 aims at promoting technology, methods and IoT solutions to optimise precision farming practices of Mediterranean Woody Crops (apple, olive and grape), considering the small farmers’ economic constraints. The proposed solutions (IoT and Ground Robots) will enable a more efficient usage of inputs such as water, energy, macronutrients, and pesticides increasing the profits of small farmers and reducing their environmental impact.

What approach are you taking?

Our approach is to build a national data center connected to DEMETER -HUB. This datacenter is being built by Ubiwhere and  will be open to any portuguese farmer. INESC TEC will promote the usage of AgIoT solution, that is an open source and cost-effective agricultural gateway solution, in 4 use cases: vineyards, olive groves and apple trees. In this pilot, with the support of INIAV and FENADEGAS, it is expected during 2021 have deployed more than 40 AgIoT solutions, connected to visual, soil, air sensors. These 40 AgIoTs will be deployed in static spots and applied in tractors and robots. Besides these AgIoT’s will enable third-party to connect their sensors and benchmark them against the installed ones.  Promoting more competition between technology providers.

Gateway extended with weather sensors, and optical sensors for crop monitoring and insect counts.

What other stakeholders are involved in the pilot?

In this pilot we have technology providers (Ubiwhere), agricultural associations (FENADEGAS and Cooperativa de Amarante), National agrarian institute (INIAV), that will be extended to small farmers.

What are the expected outcomes of the pilot project?

A national datacenter and an open-source cost-effective agricultural gateway interoperable with DEMETER-Hub.  Democratization the access of small and medium farmers to IoT solutions and Decision Support Systems.