Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS has know-how on wireless sensor and communication networks tailored for the monitoring of different environmental parameters (ambient temperature, ambient humidity, hydroponics bags’ water level, pH, lighting, etc.) that are of great importance not only to guarantee the sustainability of crops (suitable use of water, fair application of pesticides and nutrients), but also to result in produce with high quality. Moreover, our background includes computer vision, image acquisition and processing, recommender systems, and machine learning to help detecting plagues and monitoring the health of the crops, providing farmers useful information to keep track of their produce.
Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS’ body of knowledge and technologies in agriculture were built considering different types of crops, namely tomato, lettuce, strawberry, and grapes, and their design was the result of co-creation with the target stakeholders. Thus, the resulting flexible technology is suitable for adaptation to other cultures and for different actors. This feature is of great interest to us, and we are keen to update such technology in the context of this project proposal to allow resulting crops (and its different cycle processes: growth, handling, storage, transportation, among others) to have quality compatible with the GRI certification.
Within the scope of this project proposal, Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS can contribute with a monitoring and recommendation system designed to span large cultivated areas, and based on low-cost wireless sensor networks. Besides the sensors deployed on the field, the system may consider the data (e.g., data reports, photos) produced by those acting directly on the field (e.g., agronomist, farmer, farming engineer) through easy-to-use mobile applications running on their personal devices (i.e., smartphones, tablets).
This data collection can be housed in the farm servers and/or in cloud-based platforms which are enhanced by machine learning and recommendation algorithms that shall provide real-time information about the crops, and can suggest or even take automated actions that target satisfactory levels of economic, social and environmental sustainability of the agro-food business, allowing improvement of the respective food chain production, compliance with GRI standards, and a better positioning upon the EU market.