We can't go wrong with our favourite boost of blue - blueberries. They have been part of life for 13,000 years in North America. Fortunately, we can now find blueberries on any house table or even grow them in our gardens and farms. As charming as it can be to grow berries yourself, mummy berry disease takes it away...Is there a way we can prevent this from happening and monitor its health?

How does it work?

Flexible heterogeneous multi-robot systems will be used to automate precision agriculture in an intelligent way that offers farmers a scalable value proposition.

The agricultural UGVs and UAVs will be housed at the blueberry farm, and the UGVs will include an embedded and flexible perception system. The suggested ground systems will integrate cameras, lasers, and ultrasound sensors. It is important to note that these technologies will assist in early disease identification in addition to selecting the best timing for each operation.

The perception equipment will be placed on either airborne or ground vehicles. Equipment for 3D modelling canopy parameters related to vigor will be part of the FlexiGroBots perception systems. Algorithms will process the data to extract relevant information from the resulting point cloud, identifying areas with consistent differences in vigor that can then be scouted for diseases and being consistent with the areas previously pointed out by the UAVs.

With the help of UAVs equipped with a real-time kinematics positioning system, FlexiGroBots will be able to automatically georeference data, cutting down on field time and work.

Why is this needed?

The mummy berry, one of the most prevalent blueberry fungal infections, can be responsible for up to 40% of the blueberries' output losses if not treated. Various blueberry illnesses, pests, and unfavourable environmental factors also negatively impact the productivity and economic viability of blueberry farms. It is essential to diagnose illnesses or pests early, calculate risks precisely, and respond appropriately to lessen their damage. However, most detection and testing methods are still performed manually, which is expensive and time-consuming. Blueberry growers also lack precise, effective, automated, and scalable technical solutions for early risk assessment.

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