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Bosch and BASF establish project center for digital farming

Bosch and xarvio Digital Farming Solutions of BASF have established a project center that enables them to undertake their joint research and development activities at the same location.

Since 2016, employees of the 2 companies have already been working together on the so-called smart spraying project, a technology for precise herbicide application that is to significantly reduce the total amount of herbicides used. The market launch of Smart Spraying is planned for 2021. Further joint activities are planned.

Precise application of herbicides

The smart spraying concept by Bosch and xarvio focuses on the precise application of herbicides in the field to control weeds. With the smart spraying solution, Bosch and xarvio provide a smart system that can differentiate a weed from a crop plant and applies herbicides in a targeted manner.

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The smart spraying concept by Bosch and xarvio focuses on the precise application of herbicides in the field to control weeds. - Photos: BASF
The smart spraying concept by Bosch and xarvio focuses on the precise application of herbicides in the field to control weeds. - Photos: BASF

On-board cameras record vegetation

As the sprayer passes over the field, its on-board cameras record the vegetation over the entire area. A smart spraying management system analyses the sensor signals online and identifies the presence of a crop plant or weed.

The system then controls the sprayer jets and the herbicide is applied as needed. Weed-free areas, on the other hand, remain herbicide-free. The entire procedure – scanning, identification, and application – takes just a few milliseconds and is performed in a single processing step, according to the companies.

Bosch’s focus in the research and development cooperation is on the camera sensor technology, image processing and pattern recognition, control units, and system connectivity.

“In daily practical use in the field, the field sprayer with the smart spraying technology is connected to the xarvio Field Manager, which uses various parameters to determine precisely which and how much plant protection product the respective crop needs,” explained Tobias Menne, head of BASF Digital Farming.

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As the sprayer passes over the field, its on-board cameras record the vegetation over the entire area. A smart spraying management system analyses the sensor signals online and identifies the presence of a crop plant or weed.
As the sprayer passes over the field, its on-board cameras record the vegetation over the entire area. A smart spraying management system analyses the sensor signals online and identifies the presence of a crop plant or weed.

Optimal use of each section of field

xarvio Field Manager is a digital solution that is to help farmers make agronomic decisions in various areas of their work. The aim is to achieve more efficient and eco-friendly cultivation that ensures optimal use of each section of field. Farmers can at any time view the field status, obtain recommendations for each field, and download a set of maps that indicate the application recommendations for each of the individual field zones.

According to Bosch and BASF, initial field trials with prototypes in Europe and in South and North America yielded positive results. “One of the next steps on the road to readying the system for the market is optimisation of the sprayer’s resolution to achieve even more precise herbicide application,” said Andrew Allen.

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