In February 2021, two students from the Dutch Inholland University of Applied Sciences started their graduate internships for the so-called Smart Farming Broccoli project. They are going to make a design for a detection method and harvesting grabber for broccoli.
Thijs Bouwes, as a fourth year Information Technology student, will be working on the development of an image recognition method for broccoli heads. With this technology, the robot will be able to detect and assess broccoli heads in the field for size and quality, and then make the decision whether to harvest the broccoli.
Stefan Zwagerman, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student, is taking on the development of a gripper for harvesting the broccoli heads.
The Smart Farming Broccoli project is not the first initiative to develop a harvesting robot for broccoli. An inventory by the students shows that the first idea for this came about thirty years ago, but their conclusion is that no machine has been used on a large scale to date. This project investigates the technical feasibility of a machine to harvest broccoli selectively or full-field.
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