ACROCrop is an international Innovation Experiment of the co-funded by the European Union (EU) H2020 proyect «agROBOfood».
ACROCrop will create, for a real-world environment, a Robotics based solution for protection of crops against Frost Losses which present one of the major crop loss root causes for open-air permanent crop farms.
While the Frosts are generally considered as “force majeure” in farm operations, they occur to different extent in most growing seasons, leading to considerable crop losses. Methods for frost control exist and include helicopters flying over the crops to mix air in different layers, which is not environmentally and economically viable for farms in Europe.
ACROCrop is integrating components and piloting a close-to-market solution that uses gasoline-powered, autonomous helicopter drones in combination with IoT sensors and a complete software service support, to provide a revolutionary technological solution for offering a Frost Protection Service as well as general Crop Scouting service, which is going to be piloted and evaluated in practice within the Experiment.
The main goal of ACROCrop is to bring to the market level an innovative and scalable UAV robotics based solution, consisting of a Technology and Service for frost prevention in permanent crop farming with unparalleled cost-efficiency. The solution will allow farmers users to turn Frost Conditions, that occur in spring and cause major yield losses, from “largely uncontrollable” into “preventable” conditions, while also helping them improve detection of pests, water stress and other irregularities in the permanent crop plantation.
As a result, ACROCrop solution will be an integrated set of technologies that can be readily used in order to offer a frost protection service, together with frosting spot identification and smart frost mitigation management plans to Farms and Insurance Companies alike. The concept introduced by ACROCrop will allow UAV Operations Service Provider to provide a Frost Protection Service to the customer in a timely manner based on the frost conditions occurrence, similar to the nowadays well known concept of technical-physical combination of Building Security Services where an intervention is triggered by a break-in detection alarm.
To that end, we have established a consortium of 5 partners, being one of them an end user. The 4 technological partners bring a set of different
expertises to the consortium:
Alpha Unmanned Systems S.L.
(Hereinafter, Alpha) is the UAV provider, and it will provide its set of UAV technologies and knowhow to the solution, adapting them to match the experiment requirements. Alpha
will adapt its drones to perform autonomous low altitude, anti-frosting flights and to gather multi spectral images that will be later analysed to study the health and vigourness of the crops.
(Hereinafter, Picterra) brings into the solution its AI image analysis platform, that will analyse the gathered images (Calculation of Vegetation Indexes for vine vigour and 3D modelling to assess growth), and feed the extracted information to eVineyard. This information will help to assess the need of actuation (harvest or treatment), and to validate the effectiveness of the executed actuations, by detecting before and after vigourness of the crops.
(Hereinafter, Zerberos) will integrate the aforementioned set of technologies into its processes, execute it, validate the system and gather data about its cost effectiveness. Their vineyards are placed at different altitudes (between 650 and 950 metres of altitude, presenting a high unevenness) and suffer from frost every year.