Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge: Global Food Challenges and the Role of Technology

Monday 8 June at 9:00 (UTC +2)

World population is increasing rapidly together with the demand for healthy fresh food. Greenhouse industry can play an important role, but encounters difficulties finding skilled staff to manage crop production. Artificial intelligence (AI) reaches breakthroughs in several areas, however, not yet in horticulture.

The second international “Autonomous greenhouse challenge” 2019/20 aimed in combining horticultural expertise with AI to make breakthroughs in fresh food production with fewer resources. International teams conducted an experiment to grow remotely a cherry tomato crop during a 6-months-period in greenhouse of WUR, The Netherlands. The goal was to maximize net profit by increasing yield and fruit quality and therefore income and limiting resource use and therefore costs. Each team had a greenhouse compartment equipped with standard actuators and sensors (heating, ventilation, screening, artificial lighting, fogging, CO2 supply, irrigation), teams added a variety of own sensors to monitor the crop. Climate and irrigation control setpoints and crop pruning strategies were remotely determined by teams by AI algorithms.

Team Automatoes achieved the overall better results than the manual grown reference operated by Dutch growers, and won this year's challenge.

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