Crop Load Estimation
A crop load estimation system scans the plant for fruit, in this case green apples. Each apple is identified, counted and the size estimated. When looking at green apples on green trees, the "Scout" identifies greater than 95% of the visible apples with very good sizing accuracy. This prototype works best with apples at least 1.5" in diameter, but could be made to work with smaller apples. The system has been tested with oranges, pommegranites and strawberries, and can successfully identify the fruit.
Occludded fruit is by definition not visible to the cameras. The vast majority (>95%) of the apples in trees up to 18" thick is visible. Vision Robotics is well on its way to completing a statistical analysis to determine the percentage of fruit visible on trees.
The Scout can operate at speeds up to 5 mph and scouting can be performed statistically further reducing costs.
Part of the development was performed as part of the CASC Specialty Research Initiative project funding by the USDA.