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© bosch Electronics Production | November 20, 2015

Bosch startup came up with a high-tech robotic farmer

Back in 1950, a farmer would have been able to grow around 2'500 kilograms of wheat per hectare of crop land. Today, that figure has more than tripled, and with that new tech is needed.
This is where Bosch’s “Bonirob” agricultural robot can play a part. “We are leveraging our expertise in sensor technology, algorithms, and image recognition to make a contribution to improving quality of life, even in areas that are new for Bosch,” says Professor Amos Albert, a robotics expert and general manager of the Bosch start-up Deepfield Robotics.

According to estimates, agricultural yields need to increase by three percent a year to keep up with population growth. Along with agricultural technology and improved crop protection, more efficient plant breeding will play a particularly important role. In this area, Bonirob automates and speeds up analysis.

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The robot, which is approximately the size of a compact car, uses video- and lidar-based positioning as well as satellite navigation to find its way around the fields. It knows its position to the nearest centimeter.

With the help of cameras and computer-based image analysis, it recognizes and classifies plants. The is especially useful for plant breeders, who have to painstakingly analyse thousands of plants for plant size and colour, fruit size and form, and insect damage. Based on these findings, they then decide which plant strains are worth pursuing further.

The Bonirob is named after this plant appraisal process, which is known in German as Bonitur. “This automatic screening saves a lot of time and effort,” says Professor Amos Albert, the director of Deepfield Robotics.



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Images © Bosch

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