Smart Droplets

Project Name: Accelerating the achievement of EU Green Deal Goals for pesticide and fertilizer reduction through AI, data and robotic technologies.


SmartDroplets brings together AI, Data, and robotics technologies developed within but not limited to, the agricultural industry to advance both hardware and software capabilities of agricultural chemical applications for resource optimisation and minimization of chemical waste. With the ultimate aim of delivering a complete system capable of translating large amounts of data from the field into meaningful information and impactful spraying commands to achieve the Green Deal goals. More specifically, this will be achieved by accomplishing 4 Key objectives. Firstly, by pushing the state of the art of agricultural technology forward using intelligent Data infrastructure (AI models including machine vision)and Digital Twins. Secondly, by integrating robotics into traditional spraying implements. Thirdly by optimizing and ensuring that both hardware and software solutions work efficiently together and, finally, by making sure that a community with all relevant stakeholders is built around the project to promote proper information exchange as well as synergies and cohesion activities with other relevant initiatives.

Reason for applying for services

SmartDroplets identifies and understands the urgent need for standardization in the agricultural industry. This is particularly important as, in contrast to other industries, such as manufacturing, novel AI and Robotics technologies are just beginning to find practical applications. On the one hand, this poses an excellent opportunity to set up from the beginning common standards to be used by all technology providers avoiding the future unnecessary effort and ensuring interoperability. On the other hand, if no action is taken, many different proprietary protocols will likely rise to lock in customers in closed brand ecosystems. As a result, SmartDroplets aims to provide the valuable feedback gained through its developments, demonstrators, and cohesion activities to policymakers to ensure that agricultural standards reflect the needs of the industry while also being easy to adopt.

Main Standardisation Interests

In Smart Droplets, data interoperability, warehousing, and exploitation by AI models are crucial to support large-scale demonstrators and continuously monitor and refine big amounts of field data. As Digital Twins and AI models will use data from various sources, standardization is of utmost importance. Moreover, communication between software, implement, and tractor must be assured. As a result, standardization of communication protocols is essential. So far, within SmartDroplets, the following ways of standardization have been defined: data modeling based on the semantic web (ontologies). Compliance with current and foreseen regulations on autonomous agricultural robots, as well as the acquisition of deep knowledge of certification procedures regarding safety. A set of best practices and contributions to standardisation will be published to support policy measures and standardization.

Moreover, since the conceptualization of SmartDroplets, the need to continuously monitor and actively participate in standardization networks, working groups, and bodies were identified as ways to ensure project results can have a significant impact on relevant regulations, policy measures, and standardization efforts (e.g., Technical Committee for Standardization, standards: ISO 4254-6-1:2020, ISO 16122-5:2020, AIOTI WG on Agriculture). While at the same time providing adequate input to standardization processes for relevant topics and items developed by Smart Droplets, such as agricultural implements and AI models. Finally, two contributions to new drafts and/ or technical documents aimed at standardization bodies were planned during the proposal writing phase

However, SmartDroplets will not start from zero; instead, it will use already identified standards and build upon them.

  • The sprayer with a Direct Injection System - A real-time chemical injection system for variable rate spraying will be based on ISO and agricultural standards
  • The various platforms developed will implement existing agricultural standards
  • The navigation module will employ the latest standards for communicating in harsh environments, delay-tolerant protocols
  • The retrofit tractor will meet ISO18487, ISO18497, ISO13849 and ASIL standards.
  • Data sharing will be built upon standards such as AgGateway, ICAR, ETSI-NGSILD, GS1-EPCIS & CBV
  • AI and machine learning models will make use of the ONNX (Open Neural Network Exchange) open standard for machine learning interoperability.

Open Call Topic(s): Sustainable digitalisation

Project Acronym: Smart Droplets

Smart Droplets

Grant Agreement Id: 101070496

Start Date:

End Date:

Programme: HORIZON.2.4 - Digital, Industry and Space

Call for proposal: HORIZON-CL4-2021-DIGITAL-EMERGING-01

Funding Scheme: IA - Innovation action