International Forum of
Agricultural Robotics

FIRA 2019 Speakers

FIRA 2020 speakers are under confirmation - We keep in touch to give you a list of speakers by the end of June!

Introducing Fira 2019

Alexei Grinbaum


GRINBAUM Alexei (France)


Alexei Grinbaum is a philosopher and physicist. He is a researcher at CEA-Saclay and an expert in quantum information. Since 2003, his areas of focus have included the ethical issues related to new technologies, particularly nanotechnologies, artificial intelligence and robotics. Member of the Commission of collaborative thinking on research in digital sciences and technologies (CERNA), he has recently published “Les robots et le mal” meaning “Robots and Evil” (Desclée de Brouwer, 2019).

Robots serving field crops

Prof. Dr. Pickel, Peter

Deputy Director European Technology Innovation Center

Prof. Dr. Pickel, Peter (Germany)

John Deere GmbH & Co. KG

Since 2007, Prof. Dr. Peter Pickel has been being employed at John Deere (JD). As the Deputy Director of the JD European Technology Innovation Center (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Peter Pickel manages research and development of advanced technology. Within JD, Peter Pickel and his team lead all publicly funded R&D activities in EU zone and external technology relationships. Since 2019, Pickel is honorary professor at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern.

Robots serving breeding

Timo Joosten

Global Head of Product Management

Timo Joosten (Netherlands)

Lely International NV

Born in the Netherlands in 1978, I got infected with the dairy farmers virus through my grandfather and uncle. After graduation as an agricultural engineer (Bsc) specialized in dairy at the Van Hall institute Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, I continued my study to become a Master of Science (Msc) in Agricultural Business at Greenwich University, London.

After my thesis for Lely “the development of the franchise model (Lely Centers)”, my wife and I decided to put theory into practice by starting our own dairy farm in Ampoigné, Mayenne, France in 2003. Started with 50 cows and 100 hectares we were able to expand it to 100 cows and 140 hectares and becoming a robotic dairy farmer ourselves.

Through the role of commercial trainer I brought my practical experience back into the Lely organization as of 2007, where in 2013 I became worldwide responsible for the consultancy department known under the name of FMS (Farm Management Support), which led to the decision to sell the farm.

Early 2015 I took over the end responsibility as Senior Product Manager Milking & Cooling for the whole product range of the Lely Astronaut Robotic Milking System, its peripherals and the Lely T4C farm management software. Since the 1st of January 2018 this responsibility has extended towards the full Dairy portfolio of Lely being the Head of Product Management.

Agricultural robotics storms global market

Christian Kirchhoff


Christian Kirchhoff (Germany)

K.U.L.T. Kress Umweltschonende Landtechnik GmbH

Christian Kirchhoff, born in 1960, is an agricultural engineer. After completing his studies in Agricultural Sciences in Nürtingen, Germany, he worked as a farmhand. In 1991 he joined the company Kress (since 2012 the company is called K.U.L.T. Kress Umweltschonende Landtechnik) and in 1995 he became Managing Director. The company successfully develops individual solutions for hoeing machines and is well-known for the Kress fingerweeders.

Robots serving fruits and vegetables production


Director of Operations

Céline FRANQUESA (France)


Céline Franquesa is the co-founder of SYHA, a company that develops harvesting robots for high-tech greenhouses. These robots are built to help producers address workforce shortage and improve their competitiveness.

Regulatory Frameworks and Standards for Agricultural Robots: what is the state of art?


Desk Officer


European Commission, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Robots serving fruits and vegetables production

Jean Inderchit

Dino Product Manager

Jean Inderchit (France)


After graduating from a master’s degree in computer science in 2013 I started working at Naïo Technologies on the first robot Oz. I mainly focused on computer vision and AI. Then I started driving the R&D team on the Dino Product and constructing the short-term technical roadmap. A year ago, I switched to the marketing side of Dino by taking the position of Product Manager. Today I write the long-term vision and coordinate the teams that work with the product. If there is one important thing, I can say about all this is that working at Naïo an amazing adventure!

Regulatory Frameworks and Standards for Agricultural Robots: what is the state of art?

Henri Biès Péré

2nd Vice-President of FNSEA

Henri Biès Péré (France)


Henri Biès-Péré is second vice-president of FNSEA, the French Federation of agricultural majority unions. Being an expert in land issues, he chairs the Territorial Management Commission. He carries out the discussions of the FNSEA on digital, innovation and data management in agricultural. Moreover, Mr. Biès-Péré is President of AFDI (French farmers and international development) and President of the press group “Réussir” (Succeed). He is a member of the Observatory of agricultural and forest natural areas (OENAF) and administrator of the Agri-food Cooperative Group Euralis. Henri Biès-Péré is a dairy farmer in Montaner in the Atlantic Pyrenees, and a maize producer on a GAEC farm with two associates.

Regulatory Frameworks and Standards for Agricultural Robots: what is the state of art?

Ivo Hostens

Technical Director

Ivo Hostens (Belgium)


Dr. Ivo Hostens is a bio-engineer holding a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences, by the University of Leuven, BE. After several years in technical consultancy, he joined AGORIA the Belgian Federation for the Technological Industry as senior expert in horizontal technical legislation. In this function he also coordinated the technical work in CEMA. Since 2015 he works fulltime for CEMA as technical director and defends the interests of its 4,500 European agricultural machinery manufacturers. Since 2019 the function of secretary general of EurAgEng, the European Society for Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering is also part of his duties.

Regulatory Frameworks and Standards for Agricultural Robots: what is the state of art?


Programme Manager

Jose BRAMBILA (France)


Dr Brambila is the Programme Manager of the OECD Tractor Codes. His main areas of expertise include the simplification of international trade procedures by increasing transparency, reducing technical barriers and contributing to the international harmonization of standards and inspection procedures. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and a PhD in Economics.  Before joining OECD’s Trade and Agriculture Directorate, he worked for the University of Reading as a Research Fellow and as a consultant for FAO’s Trade and Markets Division.

Robots serving field crops



Ole Green (Denmark)

Agro Intelligence ApS

Ole Green has been working with technical R&D since he founded his first company at the age of 18. He is CEO at AgroIntelli, adjunct professor at Aarhus University, engineer, contractor, inventor, and farmer. In 2018 he was awarded the Innovator of the Year prize by the Innovation Foundation Denmark for having built a bridge between key research and industry.

Robots serving fruits and vegetables production

François Gabriel FEUGIER


François Gabriel FEUGIER (France)

Green Shield Technology

François G. Feugier completed his thesis in Mathematical Biology at the University of Kyushu (Japan) under the joint supervision of the UPMC (Paris VI). He then carried out a first post-doctorate at Newcastle University in the UK, and a second one at the University of Hokkaido in Japan. His work focuses on the modeling of biological phenomena from the formation of the vascular system of leaves to the spatial dynamics of populations of organisms.

Back in France, he founded the Green Shield Technology in 2016 to help the transition towards a sustainable agriculture.

Robots serving viticulture



Fabien ARIGNON (France)


After a Master Degree in International Business and several years abroad, he worked to develop export in the aeronautical industrial software activity during 3 years, then to develop business for the test benches activity during 7 years and fully manage SITIA since 11 years. From 1 customer of test benches in 1998, we have 250 active industrial references and more than 40% of activity abroad.

Along its experience at SITIA, Fabien notably founded PRIMABOR, an association gathering the leaders of Agricultural Machinery to mutualize test means. Fabien is member of the Board of ROBAgri, a 70-member association focusing on tests, regulations and standard enhancement for agriculture robotics.

Robots serving breeding


Co-funder & CEO

Yanne COURCOUX (France)

TIBOT technologies

I hold a BA from Canada and then graduated from Sciences Po Paris , after which I worked in change management in high-technology SME’s and start-ups: due diligence, investment raising, merger-acquisition, high growth post IPO’s on international markets. Partner in the Econet-PNO firm, I managed the Public-Private Partnership team in charge of the Microsoft, Apple, and Telefonica accounts. After 15 years abroad, I settled in France in 2012. I participated to the birth of TIBOT and joined the team in 2017 as co-founder, in charge of international markets.

Robots serving breeding


Poultry farmer

Benoit SAVARY (France)

TIBOT technologies

I’ve been a poultry farmer for over 12 years with my wife Laetitia, and we have 2 poultry buildings for breeding hens covering a total area of 3000 m2. Faced with the challenge of nest education, we looked for a solution that helps us animating batches. This is how the idea of creating a robot emerged and gave birth to Tibot Technologies. Today I use 2 robots in my breeding farm.

Agricultural robotics storms global market / Regulatory Frameworks and Standards for Agricultural Robots: what is the state of art?

Dr Rohan Rainbow


Dr Rohan RAINBOW (Australia)

AgTechCentric Pty Ltd

Dr Rohan Rainbow is a Canberra Australia based consultant with more than 30 years of experience in crop protection, farming systems, precision agriculture, robotics, automation, data and digital agriculture. Originally from a family farming business, Dr Rainbow has been the founding executive officer of the Australian precision agriculture association SPAA and national crop protection manager for the Grains Research and Development Corporation. Dr Rainbow today consults to a number of Rural Research and Development Corporations, industry organisations and commercial companies.

Agricultural robotics storms global market

Murugesan Suresh

Assistant Chief Engineer

Murugesan Suresh (India)

Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd.

My mission statement is to become an Excellent R&D Professional focusing on New Product & technology development in advanced field of Global automotive engineering.  I am passionate in leadership approach to bring positive impacts on the team and organisation to strive towards achieving sustainable business growth.My professional career has seen the spectrum of Agricultural Machinery Business across various domain in TAFE.  I have been in positions where I could contribute directly to the bottom line as well as provide strategic inputs to the top management for sustainable growth toward future focus, such as  new technology developments and capability building in the areas of Precision Agriculture, and also the introduction of key technology recently towards improving farm productivity & yield.

Agricultural robotics storms global market

José Miguel Arizabalo

Corporate Chief Information Officer

José Miguel Arizabalo (Chile)


I am Computer Engineer with a Master Information Systems at Australian School Business, University of New South Wales. More thn 15 years of experience in different industries such as Agrobusiness, transportation, services, production, consulting services.

Last two years I joined Hortifrut, which is the worldwide leader in the berry category integrating from the genetic to the final costumer, to lead the digital transformation program.

As part of this program is leading the initiatives related to automation, robotics, technology and innovation across Hortifrut international operations and with its commercial platforms and strategic partners. Particularly, in the robotic field is supporting and pushing solutions for the berry industry.

Regulatory Frameworks and Standards for Agricultural Robots: what is the state of art?

Michael S. Pankonin

Sr. Director, Technical and Safety Services

Michael.S Pankonin (United States)

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

Michael Pankonin represents the AEM as Senior Director, Technical and Safety Services.  Pankonin began in test engineering and has Ag, construction, utility and forestry experience.  Earning his MBA while managing product support in private industry, he joined AEM in 2007 with responsibility for the Technical and Safety Services department.  He serves on ISO standards committees, is a member of ASABE, SAE, and ASHCA, and is the AEM staff contact for OSHA, MSHA and emissions-related activities.

Christophe GAVIGLIO

Test engineer in charge of vineyard mechanization

Christophe Gaviglio (France)

Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin (IFV)

Christophe Gaviglio has been working since 2001 as an engineer at the French Institute for Vine and Wine (IFV – ‘Institut français de la vigne et du vin’). He is based in the South-West division in Lisle-sur-Tarn. As leader of experiments on wine-growing equipment, he has conducted and accompanied many projects on alternative solutions to the use of herbicides on the cavaillon (line of the vine plants). This prompted him to study and support the development of robotics for the vineyard. Since 2016, his missions also include mapping, vine analysis using sensors, and possible interactions with the equipment to achieve more precision in viticulture.



Referent Innovation Research Development

Nathalie GIMENEZ RAGOT (France)

Chambre d’Agriculture du Lot

Robots serving field crops


Ingénieur chargée de développement Agriculture Numérique

Inès TEETAERT (France)


Robots serving field crops


Field Crop Farmer

Olivier CALMETTES (France)

Individual exploitation

Olivier Calmettes was born on August 30, 1973. He achieved a High School diploma in Sciences, then graduated with an Advanced Technician’s Certificate in Plant Technology from the Auzeville Agricultural High School (Lycée Agricole d’Auzeville). Since October 1, 1997, he is settled in the 72 hectares family farm in Mauremont (Haute-Garonne department – 31) in the small region of Lauragais: durum wheat arable farming, sunflower, rapeseed, spring protein peas, sustainable agriculture management, and tillage system.

Robots serving viticulture

Thierry Bidaut

Responsable des vignobles

Thierry Bidaut (France)

GIE Vignobles Mumm Perrier-Jouët

52 years old.  He graduated with an Advanced Technician’s Certificate in Viticulture and enology at LAV d’Avize (51).

I started to work at Mumm Perrier-Jouët in 1990 to develop the operation “vineyard frost protection”. Later, I participated in the program for the plant-variety improvement and the development of herbaceous grafting. In 2002, I was assigned to the purchasing and grape supply department. As a vineyard manager since January 2015, I am in charge of the vineyard management for the Champagne Houses – Maisons de Champagne – Mumm and Perrier-Jouët.

Agricultural robotics to change the world: impact on the environment and on society

Juan Bañón

Agronomy Director and Strategic sourcing

Juan Bañón (Belgium)

Greenyard, frozen industry division

Agronomist and food industry engineer specialized in Frozen industry.

20 years in the frozen industry, focused at:

  • Agro&processing management
  • R&D agronomy&processing
  • Countries development for new agro potentials and strategies
  • Engineering processing lines at factories. Flows designer
  • Agro&harvesting&logistics operations


Benoit EGON

Journalist, Editor-In-Chief of Agricultural Machinery Section

Benoit EGON (France)


Benoît Egon is a journalist and the editor-in-chief of the section of Agricultural Machinery at Terre-net Média. He has been working the agricultural machinery sector for nearly 20 years. After having obtained an engineering degree in Agricultural Techniques and a European master’s degree in Marketing, he worked for a range of manufacturers such as  Fendt, Massey Ferguson, Same, Deutz-Fahr. He joined the Terre-net Media team in 2010. Benoit is an electronics, computer and artificial intelligence enthusiast and takes a close interest in agricultural robotics.


David Frabotta

Editorial Market Development Director

David Frabotta (USA)


David Frabotta is Editorial Market Development Director for Meister Media Worldwide’s Global Precision Initiative and AgriBusiness Global. He is an award-winning journalist and has worked in agriculture and agronomy for 12+ years. He has developed conferences and exhibitions that advocate and advance crop production technologies throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas and continues to explore next-generation technologies that are poised to become the tomorrow’s best practices for agriculture.


Stéphane DURAN

Project manager

Stéphane DURAN (France)


An agricultural engineer, Stephane Duran has worked in several fields related to the agricultural sector, first as a management consultant, then as a project manager and finally creating his international marketing consulting activity. He then moved closer to the agricultural machinery sector through precision agriculture projects.  He is currently project manager of the French Robotic association

RobAgri. Created in 2017, RobAgri structures the French agricultural robotics sector while responding to several key agricultural issues such as ecological transition and painful work. It brings together 65 members such start-ups, industrial firms, robotics research laboratories and farmers associations.



Digital solutions and counseling support-tools Team Leader

Sylvie BARTHES-ESTELA (France)

Chambre Régionale d'agriculture Occitanie

Holder of a Master’s degree in ‘SILAT’ (‘Systèmes d’Informations Localisées pour l’aménagement des Territoires’ – ‘Localized Information Systems for Land use planning’).

She worked for 2 years at INRA Montpellier (Soil Science – Farming Systems and Development) before joining the team of the Regional Chamber of Agriculture in Languedoc Roussillon. Since 2016, she is the Team Leader for digital solutions and counseling support-tools at the Regional Chamber of Agriculture of Occitanie.


Sinead BYRNE

Accountant & Business Analyst

Sinead BYRNE (Ireland)

The Yield Lab Europe Fund

Sinead represents The Yield Lab Europe Fund which is an AgTech Growth Capital Fund. Who invest in Sustainable Agri-food companies based in Europe.
Sinead graduated with an honour’s degree in Accountancy from GMIT, Ireland. She is also a Chartered Accountant.
Sinead is passionate about supporting Ag Tech start-up companies from around the world that will make an environmentally sustainable future possible and improve our current global food productions.

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