Computer vision in the greenhouse is here

Computer vision in the greenhouse is here

Computer-based technology is becoming increasingly commonplace and sophisticated in the world of horticulture and agriculture. Sensor technology has long assisted greenhouse growers in monitoring and controlling their production ranges, even up to making automatic decisions regarding climate control actions. Recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision are taking these capabilities to the next level in greenhouses and fields across the globe, but the journey to get here started many decades ago.

Beginning all the way back in the 1960s, computer scientists started by digitizing images, and the race to develop an artificial intelligence to process image data was on. Organized images such as text, road signs, and human architecture tend to be simpler for computers to process and recognize than organic shapes that vary widely in their appearance. By 2001, computers could not only identify human faces in real-time, but recognize differences between them. Since then, computer scientists have developed large image “training libraries” for computers to recognize objects of all types, including a multitude of plants.

Getting computers to recognize plants in one thing, but how is that valuable to the green industry? Farmers and horticulturists often make climate control and crop management decisions based on visual information. Identification of weeds to be plucked, fruits to be harvested, superficial leaf damages to be assessed, and insect invaders have all historically required human eyes to judge. Special training is required to teach artificial intelligence algorithms to identify new objects.

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Image by DCStudio on Freepik

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