Plant disease detecting robot in the Philippines

The Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) in the Philippines is now working on a robot that might identify plant illnesses, assisting farmers in increasing productivity. The robot will initially be situated in a banana plantation to identify disease-affected plants even at the earliest stages using artificial intelligence (AI).

“The current practice in plantations is that they are labor and time intensive. If there is not enough laborpower, it may be too late to detect and address plant diseases that have developed. This can result in reduced yields and, ultimately, profit for the farmers,” says Franz de Leon, ASTI Director.

Dubbed the Robot for Optimized and Autonomous Mission-Enhanced Responses or ROAMER -this project uses AI-based computer vision, sensing, and navigation techniques to help agribusiness businesses improve their day-to-day operations. The ROAMER project began in June 2021 and had a budget of around S$ 607,000 for a three-year implementation and is expected to be finished by June 2024.

Banana plantations are the AI models’ initial target market, and they are being developed exclusively for diseases affecting bananas. The engineers from ASTI are creating the robot and have teamed up with a banana plantation in Mindanao for the pilot research.


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