SentiV robot inspects crops by rolling its way through fields
When we think of agricultural robots, we tend to picture things that pick produce or apply chemicals. The SentiV is different, though, in that it's designed to check crops for problems while autonomously wandering the fields.
Created by French robotics startup Meropy, the SentiV forgoes the traditional rubber tracks or tire-clad wheels utilized by most agri-bots.
Instead, it moves along on rimless open-spoked wheels. These are intended to help it manage rough, uneven terrain, and to minimize damage to crops as it moves through them.
Users start by marking the perimeter coordinates of their field on a computer dashboard. When the SentiV is subsequently set down in that field, it utilizes an onboard GNSS (global navigation satellite system) module to determine where it's located relative to those boundaries. It then proceeds to make its way back and forth across the field, working its way from one end to the other.
As it does so, it utilizes two cameras to image the plants from two viewpoints – from the top looking down onto the foliage, and from below looking up toward the underside of the leaves. The height of the robot can be adjusted as needed, simply by swapping in wheels of different sizes.
Images are processed in near-real-time via AI-based algorithms. Among other things, users are alerted to the presence and location of problems such as weeds, diseases and pest damage. They're also notified if more fertilizer or water is required, plus they're kept up to date on the plants' current stage of growth.
According to Meropy, the SentiV robot tips the scales at 15 kg (33 lb), and is capable of covering up to 20 hectares (49 acres) per day. Prospective buyers can register for updates on commercial availability via the company website.
You can see the SentiV in action, in the video below.