Automated vision technology in development

Ontario’s tender fruit and apple growers have joined forces with a local agtech company to further develop its smartphone-powered computer vision system for Ontario tree fruit.


Croptracker, headquartered in Kingston, Ontario, will expand its Harvest Quality Vision (HQV) system with new crop load and defect detection tools. 


These enhancements will enable scanning of both harvested and unharvested fruit to identify possible defects. As well, growers will be able to scan fruit growing in their orchards early in the growing season to determine size and colour accuracy, which will greatly improve the accuracy of yield and harvest timing predictions. 


“An enhanced Harvest Quality Vision system will help growers have more consistent, higher-quality fruit and less reliance on manual processes,” says Ontario Tender Fruit Growers chair Phil Tregunno. “For many growers, labour represents the biggest share of their cost of production and adding automation will help offset some of those costs.” 


Harvest Quality Vision uses artificial intelligence to determine fruit size, colour and crop load. Growers are automatically alerted if it finds deviations from any acceptable standards. Not only does this eliminate time-consuming manual inspection of harvested fruit, but it also lets growers and field/orchard managers respond to crop load issues, quality defects or disease issues before the fruit is packed. 


“This smart technology will let us respond more quickly to crop load problems, quality defects or disease issues not just before harvested fruit is packed, but also even while the crop is still growing in the orchard,” adds Ontario Apple Growers vice-chair Brian Rideout. “It’s another tool for growers to ensure we’re producing and delivering the best quality local fruit for consumers.”  


The project is funded in part by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year provincial-territorial initiative.


Source:  Ontario Apple and Tender Fruit Growers September 13, 2021 news release

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