, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 245-262
Date: 11 Aug 2010

Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops: Year 1 results and lessons learned

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Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops is a project focused on the needs of the specialty crops sector, with a focus on apples and nursery trees. The project’s main thrusts are the integration of robotics technology and plant science; understanding and overcoming socio-economic barriers to technology adoption; and making the results available to growers and stakeholders through a nationwide outreach program. In this article, we present the results obtained and lessons learned in the first year of the project with a reconfigurable mobility infrastructure for autonomous farm driving. We then present sensor systems developed to enable three real-world agricultural applications—insect monitoring, crop load scouting, and caliper measurement—and discuss how they can be deployed autonomously to yield increased production efficiency and reduced labor costs.