In collaboration with Central Queensland University Freelance Robotics has commercialised the Fruit Detection System developed by Professor Kerry Walsh and his team at the Sensors Group of the Institute for Future Farming Systems. Following this entry to market, our commercialisation roadmap will soon deploy Prof Kerry Walsh’s Auto Harvester. These two new products underpin known needs to service mango producers.

Fruit Detection Rig

The Orion product is designed as an easy-to-use and relatively low cost orchard imaging system mounted to a farm vehicle for count and sizing of fruit on the tree. The operator starts and stops image recording while driving through the orchard. Imagery is processed by the on-board computer system after image recoding is finished and connected to mains power. Data on the fruit count is then transferred via wifi to the web-app.

The planning of both harvest resourcing – such as materials, transport, and labour – as well as market sales timing requires accurate forecast of harvest load per farm. More accurate fruit count from an automated system means a clearer forecast that results in efficient resourcing and less fruit waste.

Fruit Mango Counting

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Mapping of fruit load means informed agronomic practices. Real world benefits are already seen by early adopter growers in Australia. In one use case, mapping of fruit load following a frost event during flowering guided the best positioning of frost fans. In another, mapping of areas with an early fruit set allowed a selective early pick when the market called for early fruit.

Fruit Counting Mango Row

Industry 4.0 technology is changing the game for the better. The Hort Innovation Mango SIP 2022-2026 recognises the need for better forecasts and further mechanisation. Freelance Robotics supports the delivery of advanced technology into remote and rural regions, including on-the-job vocational education and training to help farmers get on board with tech skills.

The system has the capability of estimating mango flower density and mango fruit load. Upcoming features of Orion mean additional functions will be added – both for other attributes of the mango crop and other crops. Fruit load forecasting across production areas can assist with food security, strengthening supply chains facing changing climate conditions.

See the Fruit Detection Rig in Action

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