Artificial Intelligence: Bloomfield Robotics Uses AI Cameras And GPS On ATVs To Fight Plant Disease

January 30, 2023 | Artificial Intelligence

Robotics are playing a role in the battle against flavescence doree, the highly contagious plant bacteria that has become a worldwide threat to winemaking.

A highly contagious plant bacteria called flavescence doree was found in 40,000 grape vines in Bordeaux, France in 2011. The disease, first seen in France in 1949, has since become a global threat to winemaking and has no cure. The only treatment is insecticides and destroying infected plants after inspections of the crop.

A trained vineyard inspector can inspect 150 vines per day manually, but using Bloomfield Robotics’ cameras mounted on a tractor or ATV, the same person can inspect 35,000 vines in a day. This allows for plant level management and precise location of infected plants. (Pittsburg Post-Gazette)

Bloomfield Robotics received $16.2 million in investments, including from Kubota and Oeneo Group, to increase staff and refine its AI-powered farming technology licensed from Carnegie Mellon University. The company focuses on blueberries and 32 grape varieties and uses AI to identify diseases by comparing images of healthy plants to those taken in the field.

Pittsburgh is regarded as one of the top two robotics centers in the US with 105 robotics companies, and Bloomfield Robotics, a Carnegie Mellon University spinout, has a library of 6 million grape vine images and employs 18 people.

“These machines are doing complex tasks and are involved in sophisticated decision making,” said Joel Reed, executive director of Squirrel Hill-based Pittsburgh Robotics Network, an advocacy group. “If we do our jobs right, the world is going to need robotic solutions for decades.”

Related Story:  John Deere’s Advances in AI Powered Agriculture Machinery

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