CROPS EU-project

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First experiments of selective spraying of diseases in grapevine in spring 2013

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Video of target spraying Click here to download a video of target spraying experiments 2013

A first set of experiments of robot system was conducted in greenhouse conditions at University of Milano in spring 2013. As case study it was considered the automatic detection and selective spraying of grapevine canopy regions exhibiting symptoms of Powdery mildew, a major disease for this specialty crop.

Imaging system close range spraying

Imaging system for disease detection

Crops manipulator in spraying configuration

Crops manipulator in spraying configuration

Vineyard canopy conditions were recreated in greenhouse by aligning healthy plants of grapevine grown in pots. To simulate localised disease foci within healthy vegetation, diseased plants with different levels of symptoms were positioned in the recreated canopy wall. These foci are the actual targets of selective spot spraying performed by CROPS robot.

By traveling in front to the plants, the system scans the canopy in search of possible targets. Automatic disease foci identification and localization is based on on-the-go processing of multispectral images, and aggregated targets coordinates are then passed to the manipulator controller for being precisely spot-sprayed. The results of robotic treatments were assessed by use of fluorescent tracer and compared to the records of visual inspections conducted by a plant Pathologist prior to robotic spraying pass.

From this first set of experiments, from the different tested conditions we obtained as overall results a coverage of almost 90% of the targets (area to be sprayed which was actually sprayed), avoiding unnecessary spraying on more than 80% of the area not containing any target. For the tested conditions, the corresponding amount of applied pesticide (which obviously depends on the actual spread of the disease in the canopy) resulted in a overall reduction of about 70% compared to the same treatment applied uniformly to all the canopy, obtained with current spraying technique used in agriculture.

Target spraying in the greenhouse

Target spraying in the greenhouse

Target spraying of grapevines in the greenhouse

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 May 2013 20:00