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posted on 15.05.2019 by Ashwin Sasidharan Nair
Networked telerobots are operated by humans through remote interactions and have found applications in unstructured environments, such as outer space, underwater, telesurgery, manufacturing etc. In precision agricultural robotics, target monitoring, recognition and detection is a complex task, requiring expertise, hence more efficiently performed by collaborative human-robot systems. A HUB is an online portal, a platform to create and share scientific and advanced computing tools. HUB-CI is a similar tool developed by PRISM center at Purdue University to enable cyber-augmented collaborative interactions over cyber-supported complex systems. Unlike previous HUBs, HUB-CI enables both physical and virtual collaboration between several groups of human users along with relevant cyber-physical agents. This research, sponsored in part by the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD), implements the HUB-CI model to improve the Collaborative Intelligence (CI) of an agricultural telerobotic system for early detection of anomalies in pepper plants grown in greenhouses. Specific CI tools developed for this purpose include: (1) Spectral image segmentation for detecting and mapping to anomalies in growing pepper plants; (2) Workflow/task administration protocols for managing/coordinating interactions between software, hardware, and human agents, engaged in the monitoring and detection, which would reliably lead to precise, responsive mitigation. These CI tools aim to minimize interactions’ conflicts and errors that may impede detection effectiveness, thus reducing crops quality. Simulated experiments performed show that planned and optimized collaborative interactions with HUB-CI (as opposed to ad-hoc interactions) yield significantly fewer errors and better detection by improving the system efficiency by between 210% to 255%. The anomaly detection method was tested on the spectral image data available in terms of number of anomalous pixels for healthy plants, and plants with stresses providing statistically significant results between the different classifications of plant health using ANOVA tests (P-value = 0). Hence, it improves system productivity by leveraging collaboration and learning based tools for precise monitoring for healthy growth of pepper plants in greenhouses.


Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD), grant #4886-16R


Degree Type

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering


Industrial Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Shimon Y. Nof

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Seokcheon Lee

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Vaneet Aggarwal