Driving farming production and disease prevention through artificial intelligence technologies is the key aim of an Australian Research Council Research Hub. The hub received Australian Government funding of $5 million through the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Program in 2018.
The Hub combines world-leading capabilities in image processing, machine learning, robotics, and software, with additional input from experts in agronomy, biology, water use, and farming technology.
The DeepBerry automated monitoring system uses both visual and infrared imaging to accurately detect ripeness, bruising, fungus, fruit size, shape, and foreign objects, and can process more than 7000 punnets per hour. Testing has shown that this system has a higher accuracy and greatly improved consistency when compared to current human quality checking, leading to increased quality and consistency of fruit and reduced labor costs.
The Hub has also developed a mobile phone app for remote monitoring of strawberry quality, allowing consistent quality checking to occur at various stages of the supply chain including picking, packing, and distribution points.