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How Singrow Leverages The Augmentus Platform to Automate Strawberry Pollination and Harvesting


Published 15 Jul 2020

On a global scale, robots for agriculture is one of the biggest trends for 2020, as the world struggles to reduce its vulnerability to volatility.

As a small country that relies so much on foreign imports, Singapore has to adapt. With Singapore’s “30 by 30” goal to have 30% of its food supply onshore, agri-food tech startups are in the spotlight for supporting this movement. S$55 million from Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has also been assigned to boost the growth of local agriculture and aquaculture companies. With the support of institutions, Singrow can innovate and incorporate the most suitable technology in their farms.

By centralising the programming platform, Augmentus has automated urban farming in Singrow’s vertical farms.

Demo of a robotic arm with Artificial Intelligence was presented to Senior Minister

Image: Demonstration of a robotic arm with Artificial Intelligence to Senior Minister

About Singrow

Strawberries require a cold climate to survive and grow, thus tropical and desert areas are unable to cultivate
them. To solve this issue, Singrow uses state-of-the-art technology to grow premium strawberries in the places
you would least expect.

In tropical regions like Singapore, strawberries are often expensive, sour and have unstable supply. Singrow
solves all of those issues using proprietary agriculture technology and having an entire agricultural system
from breeding to harvesting.

The Challenge


Automating Pollination & Harvesting

The main challenges to achieve this is that:

  1. Small and fragile flowers and strawberries require delicate handling by the robotic arm.
  2. High-level AI model is needed to identify flowers in full-bloom and ripe strawberries, among the stems and leaves.
  3. Technology needed for all the steps from seedling propagation, pollination to harvesting are provided by multiple sources, making it time-consuming and costly to coordinate.

The Solution


Picking strawberries using a robotic arm, cobot. Programmed by drawing simple waypoints on an iPad. Agriculture robots.

AI Model to Identify Ripe Strawberries & Flower

Augmentus’s integrated artificial intelligence (AI) model can identify both flowers and strawberries, eliminating the need for separate systems.

Once the flowers are identified by a camera on the robotic arm, the fan gets activated to blow faster for more effective pollination.

By matching the strawberry to its database using a camera or infrared scanner, the robot can be programmed to pick out ripe strawberries with a suitable end-effector.

The Success


With a unified system for an integrated approach, Augmentus provides a simple yet dynamic solution for Singrow’s problems.

“Our collaboration with Augmentus has enabled us to efficiently automate the harvesting and pollination processes of our proprietary strawberry growing platform. Development work like AI and robotics usually require high technical competency and time to develop and Augmentus has proven to be a valued partner in the agritech sector!”


Xu Tao, CTO of Singrow

By leveraging automation, this gives Singrow an edge to maximise output, given the limited land space. With a full stack solution, they could easily automate their farm, even with the financial restraints as an SME.

With the growing need for local food sources and support from organisations, this might be an optimistic start for innovative technology in agriculture.

References

Singapore Food Farming – 30 by 30
https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-farming

Robotic Trends
https://www.eenewseurope.com/news/robotic-trends-2020/page/0/1

More than S$55 million set aside to help agriculture and aquaculture firms innovate
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-food-security-agri-tech-55-million-innovate-12873640

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