On February 6th and 7th the kick-off meeting of UV-ROBOT took place at Research Centre Hoogstraten. During two days all planned activities in each work package were presented by the WP leaders. While communication, management and long term are standard work packages included in NWE Interreg projects, the implementation work packages of UV-ROBOT are the following:
- Development Robot and Crop Monitoring through Sensor Technology
- UV-C strategy - Optimizing mildew control with UV-C light
- Field validation of UV-C light application in greenhouse IPM practices
The partnership can now start the planned activities and bring forth technological developments and research results. We are convinced that all together we contain the necessary and complementary expertise to achieve our goals in the project. We therefore like to take the opportunity to introduce the project partners.
Proefcentrum Hoogstraten (PCH): PCH (°1955) plays an active role in the development and growth of the horticulture in the north of Belgium. PCH specialises in the cultivation of strawberries, tomatoes and peppers in greenhouses and the cultivation of strawberries in open air (in soil and on tabletops). Applied scientific and demonstrative research in these cultures provide information and answers to questions raised by professional growers.
As the lead partner, PCH will coordinate the project and stimulate the exchange of knowledge and technology. PCH will contribute to the systems design and field-testing for strawberries and tomatoes. Afterwards, the demonstration activities together with the consultancy service will guarantee the dissemination of the innovations in NWE. PCH also leads the work package focused on validating the UV-C strategies in existing IPM strategies.
Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt (PSKW): PSKW (°1963) is a practical research institute for vegetable production both in greenhouses and in open field. PSKW fosters innovation in close contact with Belgian growers who decide on (semi)field trials and dissemination activities. IPM - crop protection and mechanization and automation are important research topics among many others.
PSKW will contribute to the systems design and field-testing for cucumber and lettuce. The demonstration activities together with the consultancy service will guarantee the dissemination of the innovations in NWE. PSKW also coordinates communication work package.
Octinion: Octinion is a commercial R&D company specialised in mechatronic product development and test & measurement solutions. Octinion focuses on three sectors: agriculture and outdoor machines, food and industry. For third parties, Octinion offers services like measurement campaigns, projects and full product development. Next to these services, Octinion is developing their own products like autonomous vehicles for use in greenhouses and outdoors operations and a strawberry picking robot.
Octinion will develop prototype autonomous UV-vehicles and will adapt them to the three types of cultivations in the project: spherical, vertical and horizontal crops. Octinion coordinates the technology work package, which focuses on the development of the robot.
STC Research Foundation (STCRF): STCRF's core business is applied research and development for the horticultural industry, which encounters many challenges associated with pests and diseases as well as labour costs. The solutions to many of these challenges require innovative approaches and the application of novel technological solutions. STCRF plays a key role in testing and evaluating new technological solutions and disseminating knowledge to the UK horticultural industry.
STCRF will contribute to the systems design and field-testing for mainly basil, followed with knowledge exchange and dissemination. STCRF will coordinate the work package that seeks to optimize the control of mildew with UV-C light.
CESI: CESI is a professional training and higher education group, which specializes for nearly 50 years in training industrial managers, executives, technicians and supervisors. CESI has an in-house transfer and research institute (LINEACT) dedicated to the Industry and the City of the future with strong skills on computer sciences, data mining, modelling and optimisation of complex systems. CESI works with various sectors in Normandy and Hauts-de-France and is member of industrial clusters like Agroé.
CESI will work on the development of a decision making tool based on optimised control and supervision methods for the dynamic and automated UV treatment. Data visualization based on mobile augmented reality on tablet or smartphone will be also studied and developed in order to provide user-friendly and efficient interface for the growers. CESI will participated in the test phases and in the dissemination actions through conferences and publications. CESI will coordinate the Long Term work package.
Roboscientific Ltd (Robo): Roboscientific is developing instruments which measure of the odours or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted by any organic object (animal; vegetable or fruit) to determine if the object is diseased; is degraded or if it has been in contact with an impurity. The company has developed unique sensors & instruments which can detect such changes rapidly even when they are very small. Currently this technology is being commercialised in the Agri-Tech sector.
Roboscientific will develop sensors which are sensitive & specific to the symptoms of powdery or downey mildew on the five specified crops. Secondly, a sampling device will be developed which will capture a sample of the air around the crops to be applied to the sensor system. Software will be developed to interface the data acquired into the Robot system and the sampler and sensor system will be integrated into the Robot assembly
Comité d’Action Technique et Economique (CATE): CATE is an experimental research centre located in the heart of horticultural area of Brittany. CATE carries out trials on a large range of locally cultivated vegetables and ornamentals in field conditions, both in greenhouse and outdoors. Trials focus on varietal evaluation, IPM and plant protection strategies, sustainable fertilisation practices, innovative cropping system design, etc., to promote the transfer of innovative practices to growers
CATE will act as a demonstration partner to test the UV-ROBOT in tomato greenhouse conditions in Brittany, France
Comité Départemental de Développement Maraîche (CDDM): CDDM is a regional organisation working for vegetable grower development, based in the west of France. CDDM provides technical advice to growers of open field and protected crops. CDDM carries out trials on a large range of locally cultivated vegetables. Trials focus on plant protection strategies, sustainable fertilization practices, innovation technical process. CDDM promotes the transfer of knowledge in innovative practices directly to growers.
CDDM will participate in field validation and act as a demonstration partner to test UV-ROBOT on cucumbers in the west of France.
NIAB EMR: NIAB EMR (°1913) was established by the fruit growing sector to address the many challenges faced by growers. Since its establishment, it introduced wide-ranging advances to horticulture which have shaped the way produce is grown and supplied to the consumer. Today, its mission is to conduct high-quality strategic and applied research in horticultural and environmental sciences, and to deliver knowledge, products and services that benefit public and customers.
NIAB EMR will act as a demonstration partner to test the UV-ROBOT in strawberry greenhouse conditions in Kent, UK. Furthermore, they will be in charge of a pilot grower in their region testing the horizontal UV-ROBOT.