NI consortium is founded by identifying the required partners for the specific expertise needed to achieve the goals of the project. It consists of eight partners, from five European countries: Italy, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and Switzerland. Five of the consortium members - UNIPI, IMPERIAL, ETH ZÜRICH, TU DELFT, and KINGSTON - are higher education institutions; two partners - CSIC and ISPRA - are governmental organizations, and one partner QBROBOTICS SRL is a SME. Four third parties - UNISI, UNIPG, UNIMI, and UNISS - provide the Botany expertise to complement the NI consortium. They will act as end-users helping in KPI definition and in situ validation.
Università di Pisa - Research Center "E. Piaggio"
The Università di Pisa (UNIPI), founded in 1343, is among the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe, with alumni such as Galilei, Volterra and Fermi. The Research Centre “Enrico Piaggio”, founded in 1962 organizes interdisciplinary research among engineering, medicine, and biological scientists towards applications in Bioengineering and Robotics. The Robotics Group of the Research Centre “Enrico Piaggio” focuses on robotics and embedded automation. The group is among the originators of the modern approach to physical human-robot interaction, where it has been advocating intrinsic safety via the co-design of mechanics and control, oriented towards performance maximization within rigid safety constraints. Particular attention has been focused on the study of actuation, hands and haptics since at least 20 years.
Manolo Garabini - coordinator
PhD, Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Engineering of the Università di Pisa. He received a PhD in robotics (cum laude, 2020), from University of Pisa, Italy. From 2016 to 2020 he was a fellow of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), Italy, within the Soft Robotics for Human Cooperation and Rehabilitation (SoftBot) Research Line. He was a Visiting PhD student (September 2018 to March 2019) at Institute for Perception, Action, and Behaviour (IPAB), University of Edinburgh. His research interests include design and control of soft robotic systems, impedance planning and control, and robotic grasping.
Received a B.S. degree in Information and Automation Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona in 2013 and a Master's Degree in Automation and Robotics Engineering from the University of Pisa in 2017. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the Research Center "E. Piaggio'' of the University of Pisa and his research activity focuses on design and control strategies for robotics applications with a particular interest in compliant robots and impedance controlled robots.
Mathew Jose Pollayil
Mathew Jose Pollayil was born in Kottayam (India), graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering and a Master's in Robotics and Automation Engineering from the University of Pisa .
He is currently a PhD student in Information Engineering at the Department of Information Engineering of the University of Pisa and at the Research Center “E. Piaggio”. He collaborates also as an Affiliated Researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology (Research Line: Soft Robotics for Human Cooperation and Rehabilitation).
Andrea Timperi is a research fellow at the Research Center E. Piaggio, Department of Information Engineering, University of Pisa, working on locomotion of four-legged robots in natural environments, designing and validating innovative planning and control algorithms.
He received his B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2017. Then, he graduated with honors in Robotics and Automation Engineering at the University of Pisa in 2021, with a master thesis focused on path planning for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, to gather the largest amount of information in a target area and map the uncertainty related to the seagrass spatial distribution.
Giuseppe Alfonso is a research fellow at the Research Center E. Piaggio, Department of Information Engineering, University of Pisa, working on locomotion of four-legged robots in natural environments, designing and validating innovative planning and control algorithms.
He received his B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2017. Then, he graduated in Robotics and Automation Engineering at the University of Pisa in 2021, with a master thesis focused on the realization of a control architecture based on the quasi-velocity method for legged robots.
Alok Ranjan is a Ph.D. student in the Information Engineering department at the Centro di Ricerca “Enrico Piaggio” of the University of Pisa. He received his Master of Science (MS) in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Groningen in 2020, and Master of Technology (MTech) in Aerospace Structures and Design from The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology in 2016. His MS thesis was focused on understanding the change in Muscle Synergies with learning to use a prosthesis. Previously in his MTech thesis he proposed a novel mechanism for a rover suspension for mobility in uneven terrains.
His research interest focuses on the problem of locomotion and manipulation. He is interested in understanding the interplay between animal biomechanics and neural control of the limbs as a generator of locomotion.
Antonello Scaldaferri is a Ph.D. Student in Information Engineering at the Research Center "E. Piaggio" of the University of Pisa. His research focuses on reinforcement learning-based locomotion planning and control of quadrupedal robots for highly dynamic motor skills in natural environments, in the context of the Natural Intelligence H2020 project, concerning robotic environmental monitoring of habitats.
He received his Master of Science Degree in Computer Engineering in 2020 at the University of Studies of Salerno. He worked at the Italian Institute of Technology, as a Research Fellow in the Advanced Robotics research line, at the Active Perception and Robot Interactive Learning laboratory, on the VINUM project, that concerns grapevine winter pruning automation.
Ramesh Krishnan Muttathil Gopanunni
Ramesh Krishnan Muttathil Gopanunni was born in Kerala (India), received his Bachelor's degree (with honours) in Mechanical engineering in 2014 from the University of Calicut, India, and a Master's degree (with honours) in Computer Integrated Manufacturing in 2017 from The APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, India. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the Research Center "E. Piaggio'' of the University of Pisa, focusing on the effective locomotion of robots for environmental monitoring. His research interests include the design of actuation mechanisms, with synergic and biomimetic aspects, for the dynamic locomotion of robots.
Project manager at the Research Centre “E. Piaggio ”, University of Pisa. She received the M.A. Degree in Conservation of Cultural Heritage with a specialization in underwater archaeology, from the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples. After a long experience in the field of Cultural Heritage, and a period at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa as a scientific collaborator within the Thesaurus project (Techniques for underwater exploration and archaeology through swarms of autonomous vehicles), she gained a personal interest in technological innovations applied to the cultural field, and in the identification and management of public and private funding for the scientific and technological research. Since 2014 she has worked at the Research Center "E. Piaggio" of the University of Pisa on the management of European and National funded projects, in the fields of biomedical engineering, social robotics, and in the Europe-Africa international cooperation. She also collaborates as an independent advisor, writing projects in the Cultural Heritage scope.
Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine
Imperial ranks 3rd in Europe and 10th in the World on Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020. The Dyson School of Design Engineering (DSDE) was formed in July 2014 as the 10th Department of the Faculty of Engineering, ICL to provide a strong research and learning environment by addressing the fusion of design thinking, engineering thinking and practice, within a culture of innovation and enterprise. DSDE is home to 48 PhD students and 18 post-doctoral research associates at present. Robotics and Biomechanics is its largest research group with 4 principle investigators (PIs) leading research laboratories in embodied intelligence, grasping, machine learning, and biomechanics. The Robotics and Biomechanics group has made pioneering contributions to our understanding about how physical mechanisms such as soft tissue and musculo-skeletal structures can be conditioned to simplify the computation for perception and stable action in unstructured environments.
Thrishantha Nanayakkara - local PI
Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zuerich
Marco Hutter - local PI
Kingston University Higher Education Corporation
Paolo Remagnino - local PI
Technische Universiteit Delft
Delft University of Technology (TUD) is the oldest and largest technical university in the Netherlands, with over 23,000 students and 3,300 scientific staff. Its high quality teaching standards and experimental facilities are renowned, placing it among the 6th top universities in Europe and 15th in the world in the Engineering and Technology fields, and 2nd top universities in Europe and 5th in the world in the Mechanical, Aeronautical, and Manufacturing Engineer (QS Ranking 2020). It is a member of the IDEA League, a strategic alliance of five of Europe's leading universities of technology. TU Delft comprises eight faculties: among these is the 3mE Faculty (Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering), which hosts the Cognitive Robotics (CoR) department. In 2012, TU established the Delft Robotics Institute, in which CoR takes part. The Institute unites all the university's research in the field of robotics, bringing together more than 150 scientific staff from six TU Delft faculties. The aim is to get robots and humans to work together effectively in unstructured environments, and real-world settings. Both the 'hard' robotics disciplines (mechatronics, embedded systems, control and AI) and the 'soft' ones (human-machine interaction, user interaction, architecture, ethics and design) are represented. A part of the Institute is the TU Delft Digital Innovation Hub called RoboValley (https://robovalley.com) established to foster collaboration with companies and technology transfer.
Cosimo della Santina - local PI
Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
Diego Torricelli - local PI
Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e Ricerca Ambientale
ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) is a national public body. It provides the Italian National Reference Centre for the European Environment Agency. ISPRA is the competent government authority for all tasks and scientific activities of national interest for the protection, enhancement and improvement of the environment, water resources, nature conservation, biodiversity and soil. ISPRA provides technical and scientific support to environmental decision makers, particularly to the Ministry for the Environment, Territory and Sea (IMELS), by offering the necessary tools and know-how to address economic and social changes, while safeguarding the environment and following the sustainable development paths agreed within the European Union. ISPRA Provides activities related to the implementation of the “Nature” Directives on the National territory. It was entrusted for the realization of the III and IV report of the Habitat Directive. ISPRA is entrusted also in the preparation of a National Monitoring Program within the Habitat Directive. All research activities are carried out in close cooperation with the national and international scientific community. Following European guidelines criteria, ISPRA elaborated national guidelines for monitoring species and habitats of Community interest in Italy, with the aim to respond in a cost-effective way to the periodical commitments arising from the Directives, in a view of improving data robustness, reliability and increasing the comparability of the results and evaluations. ISPRA works with numerous European and international environmental scientific and technical institutes and organizations, in the implementation of its institutional mandate and in cooperation with the Ministry for the Environment , Land and Sea, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Ministry of Education, University and Research.
Pierangela Angelini - local PI
Fabio Bonomo - local PI
Università di Siena
The University of Siena (UNISI), founded in 1240, is rich in history and a great tradition of knowledge, engaged at the same time in research and innovation. It is today one of the Italian universities that presents the maximum innovative results in research, teaching and services. The Research Area Biodiversity, Conservation and Environmental Quality includes the Research Group Plant Diversity and Community Ecology. The general focus of our research is to investigate the communities, at different organization levels and under different perspectives, in order to understand the rules governing their structure, composition, diversity and functioning. The focus of our research is on vascular plants, bryophytes and fungi. The specific topics of our research include: Monitoring plant communities and habitats with particular attention to the methodological soundness in study planning and data analyses; dependence of plant species distribution. community structure and habitat on environmental factors. The main applications of our research include monitoring of natural resources, biomonitoring, biological conservation and management of protected areas and habitats.
Claudia Angiolini - local PI
Università degli Studi di Milano
The University of Milan, established in 1924, is a public University. It is the only Italian member among the 23 prestigious Universities of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). With a teaching staff of about 2.200 tenured professors and with almost 60.000 students, the University of Milan is the largest university in Lombardy, one of the most dynamic and internationally oriented EU regions. The University of Milan offers several study programmes covering three macro-disciplinary areas: i) Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, ii) Medicine and Healthcare, iii) Natural Sciences. The broad range of subjects taught, in the running 79 Undergraduate programmes, 57 Master programmes, 9 Single-cycle programmes, 21 Doctoral Schools, and several Advanced Vocational programmes, attracts students from all of Italy and the whole world. In addition to its excellent level of education, the University of Milan has an established reputation as one of the institutions most strongly committed to basic and applied research in Europe. The protection and exploitation of the scientific productivity is a strategic focus of the University of Milan. It has thus developed a policy to facilitate and shorten the time and mode of results transfer from research to market. EU programmes represent a major source of funding for the University of Milan, which has signed 147 grants under the 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013), for a total value of € 50.344.153, and 120 grants up to April 2019 under the Horizon 2020 Programme, for a total value of more than € 30.000.000. One of the main goals of the University of Milan is also the development of activities aimed to knowledge exchange and technology transfer in partnerships with key external organizations.