Jan 3, 2017
LettuceBot wins 2017 AE50 award

Blue River Technology’s LettuceBot precision lettuce thinning implement was just recognized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with an AE50 Award. AE50 awards honor the year’s most innovative designs in engineering products or systems for the food and agriculture industries.

The LettuceBot is the first precision smart implement that identifies every plant, makes a decision based on what it sees, and precisely sprays individual plants. LettuceBot automatically thins lettuce fields with a precision that increases yields and gives farmers a valuable alternative to scarce farm labor.

Lettuce seeds are planted at a higher rate than required to ensure that enough plants emerge to make a uniform stand. The LettuceBot then keeps the best plants using criteria based on optimal spacing and the most uniform size of the plants available. Onboard technology including cameras, 20 top-of-the-line processors, computer vision algorithms and quarter-inch-precise sprayers allow more than 5,000 decisions per minute. LettuceBot represents a major step toward smart implements that have the ability to see and spray plants individually at field scale. This see and spray capability is a major step toward reduced chemical use and increased sustainability.

Blue River Technology’s lettuce thinning service operates in California’s Salinas, Central and Imperial Valleys as well as Yuma, Arizona. Please contact Mac Keely, general manager for more information or a lettuce thinning demo.

Blue River Technology was formed in 2011, by two Stanford graduate students with backgrounds in precision agriculture and robotics. Their focus is to make farming more sustainable through robotics and computer vision. Together, they built and tested their idea in the Central Valley, proving the applicability of machine learning, computer vision, and robotics to the field of agriculture.

ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. For more details visit www.asabe.org/AE50.

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