Title : Semi-autonomous vineyard
Farming is often not profitable. This absurd reality can sometimes results even with abandonment of agricultural land. One promising solution to this problem is the use of autonomous robotics to reduce operational costs. Reducing involvement of operators can reduce labor costs, reduce risk of injuries for farmers and reduce the cost of expensive machinery.
Autonomous robotics corresponds with using electric vehicles, and then fossil fuels and carbon emissions can also be reduced, supporting efforts to reduce global warming.
Additionally, the use of advanced robotics is an opportunity to introduce a variety of sensors, produce rich large-scale digital data and stress/crop analysis for more effective crop monitoring and crop management using applications with on-line access. Such improved crop management will further increase yields and farmers' profit/gross margins.
Furthermore, such rich digital data lead the way to spot-spray practices, reducing use of agrochemicals and improving food safety, food quality and health for everyone. It’s designed to verify the assumption that an autonomous electric vehicle can significantly improve the gross margins and profit margins of farmers, produce rich digital data of the crops for improved crop management and reduce the operational risk for farmers that is involved in practicing agriculture and using chemicals. By doing that, it will improve food safety, food quality and health for the befit of everyone.
Robotic Perception has developed an autonomous electric vehicle that provides precision spraying and mowing, under the agROBOfood project, with Horizon 2020 funding. Our project is called Farmer JoeBot. 15 sensors and cameras are mounted on the vehicle, along with AI detection capabilities in real-time for both crop monitoring and for the autonomous operations of the vehicle.
The collected data is sent to the cloud and displayed on a webapp for crop management purposes. The app shows single-tree resolution heatmaps of the fields with crop yields, irrigation requirements, virus stress detection data and has sharing options for consultation with agronomists.
The vehicle is designed to provide spraying and mowing services, that typically account for >50% of the annual vineyard treatments. A robotic sprayer was developed with capability to reduce the use of chemical pesticides, that sprayer is now in patent pending status.
The combination of the autonomous capabilities of the vehicle that account of >50% of vineyard operations, together with the webapp that allows single-tree analysis of crop yields and irrigation requirements, and together with the capability of remote control of a fleet of such vehicles from a tablet, in fact allow to manage vineyards semi-autonomously.