Press release Five million euros for acceleration of AI in robotics and the agrifood chain
For the next five years, ILVO will help shape a new European Test and Experiment Facility, a so-called TEF, to boost and accelerate the application of artificial intelligence and robotics in the agricultural and food chain in Flanders and Europe.
This is good news for farms and their ecosystem ( (machine) suppliers, processors, etc.). It is also good for the many smaller technology developers, because without the financial help of such a European TEF they would not succeed, in competition with global giants, in getting their smart systems and ideas tested and ready for the market.
The TEF will have satellites or nodes (nodes) in 8 countries. There is a budget of 60 million euros in total, money from a European DIGITAL call, supplemented by funds from the member states involved, including Flanders.
Jürgen Vangeyte (scientific director of ILVO's Agrifood Technology department): "As of 2023, developers of A.I. systems and robots will receive through us an important technical and financial incentive to successfully test, finalize and implement their near-market-ready products in the agrofood sector."
Through the TEF network, Flemish A.I. initiatives and robot prototypes will be able to rely on a large European network. This is a considerable asset to add to the considerable experience that ILVO already has in sharing knowledge in European networks.
The strengthening of A.I. and robotics in the European agrifood system must be expressed in figures (deliverables): "We need to guide at least 10,000 A.I. and robotics developments in cooperation with private partners and startups. At least 1,000 applications must be taken to a market-ready level. At least 75% of the support is for SMEs, and at least 25% of the projects must have a transnational characteristic."
Typical of the satellite in Flanders is the integrated and transdisciplinary approach: from field to fork and vice versa, with plant and animal experts working side by side with the digital and technological specialists.
In practice, the Test and Experiment Facility will be a (significant) extension of the Agrifood Technology team at ILVO. A logical choice, since that team already forms a bridge to the end user and has contacts with existing Flemish and European machine and algorithm designers.
The official launch is planned for early 2023. First, administrative procedures will be completed.