Antobot and CleanLight are partnering up to support robotics in the horticulture sector. CleanLight’s UV technology with Antobot’s autonomous robot platform allows the UV-C to be easily applied to plants several times per week to effectively prevent powdery mildew in horticulture.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects plants in all growing scenarios though it particularly affects fruit grown inside poly-tunnels. The infection spreads through spores carried on the wind resulting in a white powdery coating on the plant and significant yield loss. Control of powdery mildew is usually achieved with the use of fungicides, but with increasing resistance, high costs, and their detrimental effect on the environment and human health, this is becoming increasingly unusable.
In 2005, the Dutch company, CleanLight developed an alternative to these fungicides based on UV light. Today in 2023, over 5000 growers in 40 countries use CleanLight to protect their crops using this sustainable technology.
In 2019, the UK-based Antobot began developing autonomous robot platforms and the supporting infrastructure to provide agri-tech solutions to on-farm issues. The platforms are controlled by the one-of-a-kind ‘robot brain’, the universal Robot Control Unit – uRCU®, to keep intelligence, affordability, and flexibility at the core of the technology.
Pairing CleanLight’s UV technology with Antobot’s autonomous robot platform allows the UV-C to be easily applied to plants several times per week to effectively prevent the disease.
The exact dosage of UV is carefully calibrated to apply the right amount at the right time to remove the requirement for fungicides. The UV robot is fully autonomous and built to operate primarily in poly-tunnels and open fields without the need to travel on a pipe rail system, as is common in greenhouses.
With a treatment speed of around 2km per hour and battery swap technology, one UV robot can keep the disease under control in a growing area of approximately 4 hectares.
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The UV robot is delivered as a service to avoid any capital or maintenance costs for growers allowing a competitive price to current powdery mildew prevention through fungicide spraying. Growers will also be given access to other applications from Antobot, including field logistics robots and the perfect combination of an AI yield-scouting system with UV treatment.