FEROX - Fostering and Enabling AI, Data and Robotics Technologies for Supporting Human Workers in Harvesting Wild Food

Duration: 2022-2025

Programme: HORIZON EUROPE / Digital, Industry and Space

Topic: HORIZON-CL4-2021-DIGITAL-EMERGING-01-10 – AI, Data and Robotics at work (AI, Data and Robotics Partnership) (IA)

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The Nordic region is blessed with an abundance of wild berries and mushrooms, which serve as a crucial food source and require only manual labor for harvesting. The act of gathering these nutrient-rich food resources from their natural habitats holds deep cultural and traditional significance for the Nordic people. However, despite the preservation of these customs, a mere 10% of the harvested berries are being collected for consumption each year. This low percentage can primarily be attributed to the brevity of the harvesting season and the dense forest cover that conceals the bounty from the sight of berry pickers. FEROX, endeavors to alleviate this situation by harnessing the potential of AI, data analysis, and robotics advancements. Through the integration of these technologies, FEROX aims to provide assistance to the pickers, enhancing their working conditions and facilitating a more efficient harvest. By doing so, the project seeks to promote the sustainable utilization of wild berries and mushrooms, benefitting both the pickers and the preservation of Nordic culinary traditions.


    1. Development of an innovative solution based on the integration of AI, computer vision and drones to monitor harvesting activities while incorporating improvements in the working conditions of fruit pickers and mitigating the risk factors and threats to their safety during fruit picking activities.
    2. Identification of needs, hazards and challenges that workers face on a daily basis in terms of occupational safety, with the aim to reduce the severity of problems and injuries by trying to provide workers with faster and more efficient first aid.
    3. Definition of the baseline technical and functional requirements and identification of all components to be integrated into FEROX, enabling the design of the architecture and interface of the final solution.
    4. Development of the necessary technical services for the solution of problems as well as for the improvement of the working conditions of the workers, bearing in mind the idea of assisting in their daily tasks.
    5. Validate the design and engineering approaches in two phases, focused on (i) monitoring, navigation and locating; (ii) logistics optimization and physical assistance.
    6. Evaluate the impact of the FEROX use cases on workers, measure improvements in workers’ health, and consider first aid and anomaly detection times.
    7. Dissemination and communication of project updates and results and establishing connections and interactions with DIH networks and Made in Europe Partnership, achieving a wider impact of the communication, dissemination and exploitation activities.
    8. Development of a thorough exploitation plan for the full-scale deployment of the project results, overcoming any possible barriers regarding the future acceptance of our new technology in Europe.

FEROX will implement the deployment of autonomous drones equipped with a diverse array of sensors to gather data and generate 3D models of the forested areas. These models will play a pivotal role in accurately estimating the precise locations, quantities, and varieties of berries and mushrooms within the forest. Leveraging state-of-the-art AI models, FEROX will utilize the collected data to support workers in locating the optimal areas for harvesting and optimizing their workflow. This technology-driven approach is expected to significantly boost the confidence and efficiency of the workers, ultimately resulting in an increased harvest yield for the season.


  • Scientific: Explore the benefits and impact of using AI technologies and drones for robot-human wilderness applications
  • Societal: Improve the trust and acceptance of using AI, data-driven solutions, and drones with an aim of encouraging locals to take up commercial berry harvesting activities.
  • Economy: Create new business opportunities for SMEs and citizens, increasing the utilization of wild berries; extending the EU’s lead in the production of wild berries.

In addition to its direct benefits, FEROX brings forth an indirect advantage by attracting local communities and hiking enthusiasts to participate in berry picking activities during the summer season. This increased engagement is expected to further augment the annual yield of berries and mushrooms. As a result, FEROX not only facilitates improved harvest rates but also paves the way for the development of industrialized cultivation practices for European Union (EU) companies. By leveraging advanced technologies and sustainable harvesting methods, FEROX aims to set an example as providers of safe and environmentally sustainable berry harvesting. Through its efforts, FEROX contributes to global sustainability goals and promotes the adoption of responsible practices within the industry.

Role of FAST-Lab.

  • FAST-Lab. will collaborate with the requirements collection, architecture and design of the software systems
  • FAST-Lab. will collaborate with fleet management development.
  • FAST-Lab. will collaborate with the technology selection.
  • FAST-Lab. will collaborate with the selection of IoT Devices.
  • FAST-Lab. is the leader of the Core Development work package.
  • FAST-Lab. is in charge to elaborate the Data Management Plan for FEROX

FEROX plans to conduct its initial tests and trials in the picturesque forests of Suomi, collaborating closely with the ‘ARKTISET AROMIT‘ (Arctic Flavours) Association, which specializes in wild berries and mushrooms. By partnering with this esteemed association, FEROX aims to leverage their expertise and local knowledge to ensure the success of their initiatives. The scenic forests of Suomi provide an ideal setting for these tests, offering diverse ecosystems and a rich variety of wild berries and mushrooms. Through this collaboration, FEROX endeavors to validate and refine its technologies and methodologies, ultimately paving the way for their broader implementation and impact in the Nordic region and beyond.
Overall, FEROX aims to optimize wild berry and mushroom harvesting, benefiting the Nordic region and the agricultural industry.

FEROX affiliated countries



Participant Organizations:


The FEROX project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under the Grant Agreement no 101070440 – call HORIZON-CL4-2021-DIGITAL-EMERGING-01-10: AI, Data and Robotics at work (IA). Neither the European Commission(EC) or any person acting on behalf of the commission is responsible for how the following information used. The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the EC.