[robotics-worldwide] [Jobs] Postdoc researcher, programmer and PhD positions in Orchard Robotics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand

Bruce MacDonald b.macdonald at auckland.ac.nz
Fri Dec 19 02:21:54 PST 2014


The center for Automation and Robotics Engineering Sciences (CARES), the 
Physics Remote Sensing Group at the University of Auckland, and the 
Agritech group at the University of Waikato seek several highly 
motivated and talented people for a four year project in orchard 
robotics.  The project is a partnership between the University of 
Auckland/UniServices, the University of Waikato, Plant and Food 
Research, and RoboticsPlus Limited. It will build on the world leading 
kiwifruit picker developed by RoboticsPlus with the objective of 
demonstrating commercially viable systems within 4 years. To achieve 
this a cross, disciplinary approach is required, integrating mechanical 
and electronic systems including; machine vision, pollinator, fruit 
grippers, robotic arms and autonomous mobile platform. The result will 
be an autonomous vehicle that can self-navigate through an orchard 
pollinating flowers and picking both kiwifruit and apples efficiently.

The University of Auckland and UniServices are leading international 
research organizations in New Zealand, in the desirable city of 
Auckland. UniServices is Australasia's largest commercialisation company 
of its kind. Owned by the University of Auckland, UniServices is 
responsible for all research-based consultancy partnerships and 
commercialisation based around the expertise of the University of Auckland.

The University of Waikato is one of New Zealand's major research 
organisations, playing a key role in the economy and making a 
significant contribution to the international innovation system. We are 
New Zealand's connected university and we have strong relationships with 
organisations, institutions and groups around the world. WaikatoLink is 
the commercialisation company of the University of Waikato and its core 
role involves identifying new ideas and technologies that can add value 
to society.

Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand-based science company providing 
research and development that adds value to fruit, vegetable, crop and 
food products.  With over 900 staff, Plant & Food Research's goal is to 
underpin the growth of New Zealand's plant and marine-based industries 
through the successful application and commercialisation of 
research-based innovation.

RoboticsPlus Limited funds and manages development research into 
Horticulture Robotics from field applications to post harvest solutions. 
The Plus Group of Companies offers a unique range of specialised 
integrated horticultural solutions both domestically and 
internationally. Its core passion is the long-term sustainability of 
horticulture delivered to our valued clients through service excellence, 
experience and innovation.

We now require talented people to research, develop, and evaluate 
automation technology in orchards, to pollinate and harvest kiwifruit 
and apples. The project is funded by the NZ Government's Ministry for 
Business, Innovation and Employment with the aim of making NZ a 
technology leader in the use of robotics in agriculture. It will build 
on the world leading kiwifruit picker developed by Robotics Plus Limited 
with the objective of demonstrating commercially viable systems within 4 
years. To achieve this a cross, disciplinary approach is required, 
integrating mechanical, electronic and software systems including; 
machine vision, pollinator, fruit grippers, robotic arms and autonomous 
mobile platform. The result will be an autonomous vehicle that can 
self-navigate through an orchard pollinating flowers and picking both 
kiwifruit and apples efficiently. University of Auckland project staff 
will be based at the University of Auckland and spend considerable time 
at Robotics Plus Limited's site in Tauranga. University of Waikato staff 
will be based at Robotics Plus Limited's site in Tauranga. Project 
members will work as a cohesive team across the four partners.

POSTDOCS

University of Auckland
A postdoctoral research fellow is required, to research, develop, and 
evaluate automation technology in orchards, focused on modelling and 
design of spray systems and on integration of supervisory and image 
analysis software.  As a postdoctoral fellow researcher, your role will 
be varied as you will be developing new research concepts and models 
driven by practical applications, integrating the variety of technology 
developed for the project, working alongside researchers in a variety of 
disciplines, and supporting the practical trials of robots in the field 
and with a NZ partner company. You will bring to the role a passion for 
research and engineering, interpersonal skills that enable you to 
interact comfortably with a range of people in our team, excellent 
physical modelling and software creation skills, leadership skills, and 
strong practical and problem solving ability.

Applications
Please see 
http://careers.uniservices.co.nz/engineering-jobs/other-post-doctoral-research-fellow/226269.
Please follow the steps to upload your CV, transcripts and a covering 
letter.

University of Waikato
A Research Officer is required to research, develop and evaluate robotic 
systems for pollination and picking of kiwifruit and apples. The 
Research Officer will lead in the development of the hardware aspects of 
the system and their integration with the machine vision and control 
systems. The hardware components include an automonous multipurpose 
mobile vehicle, a spraying boom and harvesting arms and grippers. The 
work includes close collaboration with industry and academic partners 
plus helping supervise PhD students.  You will bring to the role a 
passion for research and engineering, interpersonal skills that enable 
you to interact comfortably with a range of people in our team, 
excellent hardware design and construction skills, leadership skills, 
and strong practical and problem solving ability.

Applications
Please contact Associate Professor Mike Duke at dukemd at waikato.ac.nz (a 
link will be posted early in January) and send your CV, transcripts and 
a covering letter.

PROGRAMMER

University of Auckland
A half time programmer with industry experience is required, to lead the 
creation of software for automation in orchards, focused on software for 
sensing, in particular machine vision, and supervisory control of 
embedded systems.  As a programmer, your role will be to ensure the best 
software tools and practices are used by the project team, to develop 
software for the project and coordinate the software development by 
others, and to lead the software integration work. You will work 
alongside researchers in a variety of disciplines, and support the 
practical trials of robots in the field and with a NZ partner company. 
You will bring to the role a passion for research and engineering, 
interpersonal skills that enable you to interact comfortably with a 
range of people in our team, excellent software creation skills, 
leadership skills, and strong practical and problem solving ability. 
Depending on the skills of the successful applicant, we may be able to 
provide robotics softare work in addition to the half time funded by 
this project, within the CARES group.

Applications
Please see Job ID 16828 at http://www.opportunities.auckland.ac.nz, 
entitled "Programmer: Multipurpose Spraying and Harvesting Robotics 
(Part Time)"
Please follow the steps to upload your CV and a covering letter.

PHD RESEARCHERS

University of Auckland
The project includes four PhD positions, three of which are currently 
available, for well qualified bachelors or masters graduates wishing to 
obtain PhDs by working full time on this orchard robotics project.

One PhD will focus on autonomous navigation including sensing systems, 
algorithms and software development for navigation of an automonous 
platform in real orchard environments, including navigation of a mobile 
spraying boom. One PhD will focus on sensing systems, algorithms and 
software for recogition of flowers and fruit, and coordination with 
flower spraying and fruit picking. Both projects will include extensive 
analysis and field trials in real orchards. Applicants for these two 
PhDs should have strong practical ability in machine vision, algorithm 
and software development, and advanced programming skills especially in 
C/C++. Knowledge of modern software engineering practice is desirable. 
Being able to work in a team and meet project deadlines is essential.

Applications: Please see further information at: 
https://apps.foe.auckland.ac.nz/pgresearch/moreInfo.php?id=983
Please email your CV, transcripts and covering letter to Associate 
Professor Bruce MacDonald, b.macdonald at auckland.ac.nz

Two PhDs will focus on modelling of spray and particle streams for 
accurately spraying pollen and other material on flowers, and on the 
design of spraying nozzles to implement the designs. The main focus of 
these two PhD’s will be the design and evaluation of a new 
pollen-in-solution accurate droplet spray system. One PhD, “Experimental 
confined spray development”, will focus on the design of the droplet 
stream or droplet spray system, and validation in the laboratory. The 
other PhD, “Theoretical studies of confined sprays”, is already 
allocated and will focus on modelling of confined droplet streams and 
sprays and accurate fast targeting in an environment comprising moving 
platform and air currents. Both PhDs will include extensive analysis and 
evaluation in real orchard environments.

Applications: Please see further information at: 
https://apps.foe.auckland.ac.nz/pgresearch/moreInfo.php?id=984
Please email your CV, transcripts and covering letter to Professor 
Stuart Bradley, s.bradley at auckland.ac.nz

University of Waikato
Two PhD positions are available, for well qualified bachelors or masters 
graduates wishing to obtain PhDs by working full time on this orchard 
robotics project. The main focus of the two PhD’s will be the hardware 
aspects of the system and their integration with the machine vision and 
control systems.  The hardware components include an automonous 
multipurpose mobile vehicle, a spraying boom and harvesting arms and 
grippers. Practical engineering training and apprenticeship is a 
significant advantage. Knowledge of computer aided design, design and 
manufacture of mechatronic systems is desirable. Being able to work in a 
team and meet project deadlines is essential.

Applications: Please see further information at: 
http://www.seek.co.nz/job/27835147?pos=1&type=standout
Please follow the steps to upload your CV, transcripts and covering letter.

Positions may be filled as suitable candidates apply.

For further information please contact Bruce MacDonald by email 
b.macdonald at auckland.ac.nz (University of Auckland), Stuart Bradley by 
email s.bradley at auckland.ac.nz (University of Auckland) or Mike Duke by 
email dukemd at waikato.ac.nz (University of Waikato).

Best Regards,
Bruce



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