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Efficiency technology for vegetative plant production

isztlock andresr: 3D robots growing lettuce in a greenhouse - automated processes concepts

The aim of the GreenAI PFAU funding project being carried out jointly by Bio Science GmbH and Bremen University’s Institute of Automation Technology (IAT) is to develop and successfully integrate robots to handle cuttings-based plant production.

The robots are to take over highly labour-intensive steps like separation, sorting and taking of the cuttings in an automated solution so that this work can become economically viable again in Europe and the United States. This would completely remove the need to transport the plants from low-wage countries in Africa and South America, thus avoiding substantial amounts of carbon emissions caused by the transport by air to other continents, safeguarding expertise within the company, and creating new, highly skilled local jobs.

Also, automated propagation by cuttings in closed systems results in healthier plants and less need for pesticides. In an automated system, the variety of plant species and the differences which emerge in the same plant species necessitate the use of image processing systems which utilise artificial neural networks to recognise the right parts on the cutting.

Key technologies for this are the real-time interplay of AI, 3D image recognition and laser technology for cutting the plants.

The robotics is to be designed so that the cuttings lying on a belt or other carrier unit can be processed at high speed in real time. Losses which are caused at present by the transfer of phytopathogens when hand-held knives are used will thus be completely eliminated.

The project is financed with funding from the European Union and the State of Bremen – by the Senator for Climate Change Mitigation, Environment, Mobility, Urban Development and Housing Construction under the Applied Environmental Research funding programme.

ERDF Bremen 2014 - 2020
Degree of priority / area of funding
Priority Axis 1 – The Innovation Axis
Specific objective 2: Boosting the R&D and innovative capabilities of companies in Bremen
Total volume of money (in €)
Proportion of funds
of which national public funding: 267.668,69 €
of which ERDF funding: 462.668,69 €
01.10.2019 - 30.09.2021
City of Bremen
Dr Mathias Grabs
Tel.: +49 421 361 - 2516

Further information