Researchers at the University of Florida are developing an electronic system to “see” and count citrus fruit, a concept called machine vision. It could be commercially available by the end of the decade.
According to news from UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the system includes a Global Positioning System receiver and notes the position of each tree with the goal of helping growers manage specific areas for better productivity.
Daniel Lee, an associate professor with IFAS who leads the project, presented two papers on the system at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ annual meeting. In one, the system was used to count green oranges in the field and had an 85 percent success rate.
The system includes a digital camera with special optical filters, a portable computer, GPS receiver and software designed by Lee and his graduate students. The camera and computer are mounted on a truck and driven through groves.