AI-powered crop scouting robot promises better yields with sensible farming

Monitoring crops and taking care of them over a period of time is not an easy task. Right from the moment the seeds are sown to their harvesting time. A lot can go haywire if the right surveillance is not done.

Things like pest infestation, the spread of disease, and unwanted weeds can undo all the hard work done for months. Manually checking all the plants on big fields can be a tedious task with scope for human error, so the next best thing is a crop monitoring robot. One that autonomously navigates the fields without damaging the crops in the process.

Designer: Meropy

The France-based startup wants to address the bottlenecks of resourceful farming with their AI-powered farming robot dubbed SentiV. The bot inspects the fields on rimless spoked wheels that have very less contact surface on the ground, thereby scouting any crops for signs of early infestation or disease. The intelligent machine navigates forward in a marked territory, scanning the area effortlessly without any chance of error.

SentiV is capable of moving 20 hectares per day, keeping an eye on the crops with its dual camera system. One camera is placed on the top and the other at the bottom of the bot – keeping a tab under the crop canopy, soil and leaves. The AI-driven software analyses the data from these cameras to identify threats, and any signs of crops demanding more nutrition. SentiV is designed to work with different types of crops and the physical form can be modified for specific requirements. The mode of motion, the height of the machine, or the size of the wheels can all be adjusted without any hassles.

The advanced data from the robot can be ultimately used to increase the yield and crop quality. According to Meropy, their flexible robot weighs just 33 pounds, and the high-resolution images it sends back can be analyzed in detail before even stepping manually on the field. With the backing of advanced data, the farmer can spray pesticides or other chemicals only where required, thereby saving the environment as well. The design team at the startup is working on adding another sensor to scan the fields better than any human eye can do.

Currently, the robot is in the prototype stage and the startup has not mentioned any release date for the commercially available version. Once there is a clearer picture of the pricing SentiV will be sold at, the offset savings sone on the pesticides and the increased yield will decide its usefulness.