The Agrarian Transformation Society (SAT) Trops and Vodafone have launched a pilot project to provide mango harvesting machines with artificial intelligence so they can decide in real-time if the fruit is ready to be harvested based on the fruit's size, appearance, and point of maturity.
According to Vodafone sources, the 5G network and Mobile Edge Computing technology (MEC) are key for the consultation, data analysis and transmission, execution of algorithms, and pattern comparison that allow choosing and harvesting in real-time the fruits that have an optimal maturity.
The telecommunications infrastructure operator Cellnex, the project's technology provider, has facilitated the integration of artificial intelligence in the MEC. The fruit harvesting robot will take pictures of the fruit and the AI will process data to make efficient decisions according to the state of the fruit. They also implemented an infrared image capture system using stereo cameras and designed the real-time data encoding and machine learning systems used in the MEC.
In addition, Vodafone has used a 5G mobile unit that has radio and core network equipment to cover hard-to-reach areas.
Artificial intelligence and 5G will allow the machine to take images of the color and diameter of the fruit in real-time and select the ones that meet the established quality standards. "This will improve the efficiency of the process and makes it more flexible, leading to a reduction in costs and better controlling the loss of food," the operator stated.
5G pilot in Andalusia
This project is part of Andalusia's 5G Pilot initiative, promoted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation through Red.es, and which is being developed by Vodafone and Huawei. This initiative has a budget of 25.4 million euro, 6.3 million euro of which are co-financed by Red.es from ERDF community funds. Vodafone will allocate to the project an additional 1.8 million that are not included in the grant.
Agriculture is one of Andalusia's most relevant economic sectors and one of the most important fields for the application of 5G.