The primary focus of this proposal is the development of mechanization and automation solutions for specialty crops production, including detection and control of disease, pests, quality and food safety. Specific objectives of this project are to develop: <OL> <LI> Mechanization and robotic solutions for production of a wide range of specialty crops, including but not limited to fruits and vegetables, hops, grapes and berries, and nursery crops; <LI> Automated solutions for disease/pest monitoring, scouting and controlling in specialty crop production; <LI> Core technologies for computer-aided worksite management, from data collection and analysis to decision-making support; <LI> Effective methods for demonstrating and delivering the research outcomes to the stakeholders.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: This research is to develop agricultural automation technologies, from intelligent agricultural machinery to smart crop sensors, for mechanized precision farming applications. It is aimed to provide US specialty crop grower handy tools to practice sustainable mechanized and/or automated production, through considering labor dependency, overall costs, environmental footprints, product quality and safety to optimize profitability.
APPROACH: Two research approaches, demand-driven or technology-driven, will be used in this project for solving different problems. The demand-driven approach is to improve existing methods through analyzing the deficiencies of existing technology and searching for solutions to solve the problem. The technology-driven approach is to search for alternative methods to more effectively or efficiently solve the problem by taking advantage of technology advancements.