Tag Archives: technology

Scout robot could revolutionise greenhouse crop protection

A new robot crop scout developed by Metazet has been nominated for a Greentech Concept Award which takes place as part of Greentech 2018 in Amsterdam in June.

According to the manufacturers, the IRIS! scout robot detects diseases, pests, deficiencies and other plant abnormalities at an early stage and also provides accurate fruit count and yield forecasting as well as detailed climate and environmental information. They claim that the system’s artificial intelligence brain and its ability to perform active learning make it unique.

The IRIS! robot can better predict crop stress development and provide unique intelligence that can make crop protection efforts more efficient. It consists of the patented SABER™ sensor mounted on a self-propelled trolley that operates autonomously in greenhouses with a tube-rail system. Collected data is securely stored in the cloud, and the robot brain is said to be protected against hacking due to a novel, patented cloud-based information protection protocol and state of the art security standards.

The Scout robot was jointly developed by Metazet-Formflex, Ecoation and Micothon.

Photo Caption: Established greenhouse technology company Ecoation is one of the companies behind the IRIS! robot

Photo Credit: Ecoation

The post Scout robot could revolutionise greenhouse crop protection appeared first on Hort News on 10 May 2018.

International teams enter autonomous greenhouse challenge

Wageningen University & Research says that fifteen teams have registered to participate in its Autonomous Greenhouses challenge which will take place in the WUR research greenhouses at Bleiswijk. In total, the teams comprise 90 individuals representing 15 nationalities from across the globe.

Teams represent both technology and horticultural companies, such as Microsoft Research, Intel, Tencent, Delphy, Philips Lighting and Syngenta. A number of start-ups are represented and WUR says that the teams also include several plant breeders with lots of practical experience.

The challenge, which is sponsored by Tencent (a leading provider of internet services in China) aims to boost vegetable production using artificial intelligence and autonomous greenhouses to improve vegetable production, and to explore breakthroughs that can help feed more people, deliver greater food security and create more food with fewer resources.

On 31 May and 1 June, the 15 teams will take part in a 24-hour ‘hackathon’ and based on the results, an international jury will then shortlist five teams to go through to the next round. This will involve breeding cucumbers remotely in a dedicated greenhouse section at Bleiswijk using intelligent algorithms, models and sensors, with as little human interference as possible.

The full list of participating teams includes: A Team, AiCU, Huxley, B-Mex, Deep Greens/UNAM, greenHU, iGrow, Modo, SNUPHPF, Sonoma, South China Future AG, The Croperators, The new (cu)cumbers, We Grow and Young Data Driven Growers.

Photo Caption: Companies already working in the greenhouse sector are represented in the entries

Photo Credit: Delphy

The post International teams enter autonomous greenhouse challenge appeared first on Hort News on 10 May 2018.

Supermarket apps are new retail battleground

Mobile data platform Ogury has announced a new study which uses data analysis from mobile phones to show the increasing importance of mobile apps for UK supermarkets.

As expected, Ogury point out that there is a significant difference between the most engaging apps and websites. It says that M&S has the most engaging app, actively engaging with 56 per cent of its users. Aldi comes a close second with 55 per cent of user engagement. Asda comes third with 45 per cent of grocery shoppers with the app engaging with it actively; however the average session duration is higher than the top two products with an average time of 6.5 minutes per visit.

On the other hand, Tesco has the most engaging website. It engages 71% of UK online grocery shoppers – significantly higher than any of the other top UK supermarket websites. However, the Tesco app only engages 36% of its app owners, much less than the most popular supermarket apps.

“It’s clear that both low and high priced sellers are getting good traction online – on apps and on websites,” says Ogury. “M&S comes second after Tesco for website shopping, with 26% of online shoppers visiting M&S’s website for groceries, whilst M&S and Aldi – the two most used shopping apps – clearly represent the two ends of the spectrum (low and high priced goods).”

Photo Caption: Aldi has the second most popular supermarket app.

Photo Credit: Aldi

The post Supermarket apps are new retail battleground appeared first on Hort News.

Could robots be the answer to UK labour issues?

A recent report suggests that robots could help UK growers deal with potential labour shortages in the future, but in practice their widespread use may still be some way off.

Published by the Resolution Foundation, a new report suggests that some sectors of the fresh produce industry might consider the use of robots and greater automation, while others will require a carefully considered immigration policy to prevent damaging staff shortages.

Adam Corlett, Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation said: “People have long warned about the rise of the job stealing robots, but they haven’t had much effect to date in a country that has record employment and a terrible record on productivity. “For sectors like agriculture, further automation could provide part of the answer to coping with the changed labour market, although it will require a major shift in investment to become a reality.”

The report came as US company Harvest CROO revealed more details of its automated strawberry picker which is in development. “Our biggest differentiator has always been that growers will not have to change the way they currently grow strawberries,” said Gary Wishnatzki, co-founder of Harvest CROO and owner of Wish Farms based in Plant City, FL. “Now, with the patent of the Pitzer Wheel, what I believe to be the heart of the invention, we have another strong distinguishing factor.”

The post Could robots be the answer to UK labour issues? appeared first on Hort News on 15 July 2016.

De-leafing robot unveiled for tomatoes

Priva has unveiled details of a new de-leafing robot which it says will be commercially available to growers next year.

The development of the robot, named the Tomation, has taken 15 years, partly because vision recognition technology needed to mature to the required standard. Ronald Zeelen from Priva explains, “This technology was a crucial factor in the development of the machine. It allows the robot to make a very fast analysis of the crops and the position of the leaves he has to pick. And that speed of the robot was a crucial factor; it had to work fast and efficient in order to make it economically viable to use a robot.”

Although currently not as fast as a person, this is made up by the fact that the robot can work around the clock and has a proper cutting action to detach the leaves, making it more effective in a single pass.

The post De-leafing robot unveiled for tomatoes appeared first on Hort News on 22 March 216.