Central Queensland University and Freelance Robotics have teamed up to commercialize the Fruit Detection System, originally created by Professor Kerry Walsh and the Sensors Group of the Institute for Future Farming Systems. As we enter the market with this system, our commercialization plan includes the upcoming launch of Prof. Kerry Walsh’s Auto Harvester. Both of these new products address specific requirements for mango producers.

Fruit Detection Rig

The Orion product is a user-friendly and affordable orchard imaging system that attaches to a farm vehicle.

Operators use it to count and size fruit on the trees. They can initiate and stop image recording while driving through the orchard. Once it completes image recording and connects to the main power source, the on-board computer processes the imagery. Afterward, it transmits the fruit count data via wifi to the web-app.

Orion Imaging Rig

Planning for harvest resources, including materials, transportation, and labor, as well as determining the timing for market sales, relies on precise forecasts of the harvest load for each farm. When an automated system provides more accurate fruit counts, it leads to a clearer forecast, which in turn facilitates efficient allocation of resources and reduces fruit wastage.

Fruit Mango Counting

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

Mapping the fruit load provides valuable insights for informed agronomic practices. Early adopter growers in Australia are already experiencing real-world benefits. For example, in one scenario, mapping the fruit load after a frost event during flowering helped determine the optimal placement of frost fans. In another case, mapping areas with an early fruit set allowed for a selective early harvest when market demand favoured early fruit.

Fruit Counting Mango Row

Industry 4.0 technology is revolutionizing various sectors, including agriculture. The Hort Innovation Mango SIP 2022-2026 acknowledges the importance of improved forecasts and increased mechanization. Freelance Robotics is committed to bringing advanced technology to remote and rural areas, offering on-the-job vocational education and training to help farmers acquire the necessary tech skills.

Fruit counting at night

The system can estimate mango flower density and mango fruit load. Upcoming Orion features will include more functions for assessing various aspects of mango crops and other crops as well. Forecasting fruit load across production areas can help enhance food security and strengthen supply chains, especially in the face of changing climate conditions.

Visual results

See the Fruit Detection Rig in Action

Early Forecast

Different flower stages

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