FruiTREC – An Agricultural Robotics Application
Dr. Leonardo Bobadilla
Dr. Wagner Vendrame
FruiTREC is a software application that serves to inform the stakeholders of agricultural enterprises, from farmers to research scientists, about the states of their crops (e.g. growth, health, and yield) using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and computer vision to measure and analyze those states, and a mobile/web client to create UAV flight plans, store recorded data, and generate analysis reports. The FruiTREC project was motivated by researchers at the University of Florida’s Tropical Research and Education Center, who are continuously involved in agricultural experiments. Most recently, they have explored the effects of bioavailable minerals on the horticultural characteristics (HC) of tropical crops, including growth, health and yield. The mineral concoction promises to be an environmentally friendly alternative to fertilizer, but would only be marketable if its use were to maintain or increase positive HC metrics. Assessing its effects on small crops that cover a small area of land is easily achievable using traditional methods (i.e. looking with one’s human eyes and touching with one’s human hands), but scaling such assessments to much larger crops can be a tedious and hazardous task. The use of UAVs in HC data collection can increase coverage and reduce risk when trees are multiple stories tall. It is also possible to reduce data-entry labor by automating analysis of and reporting on the collected data. The objective of this project is to combine these two tasks into a single agricultural robotics software application.