Guoqiang Ren:
Mobile Robotics Platform for Strawberry Inspection and Harvesting within Precision Indoor Farming Systems


Guoqiang Ren is a Ph.D. candidate in the Zhejiang University/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute and is affiliated with the College of Biosystems Engineering and Food Science at Zhejiang University (ZJU). His research focuses on agricultural intelligence and robotics; human-cyber-physical systems; precision indoor farming systems. His awards and recognitions include ZJU Outstanding Doctorate Scholarship in 2021 and the 3rd place of Association of Overseas Chinese Agricultural, Biological and Food Engineers (AOCABFE) Student Research Presentation Competition in 2019. He is a member-at-large on the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) and an associate editor for the IMPACT Newsletter of AOCABFE. He served as a reviewer for two scientific journals.

Presentation Abstract

A mobile robotics platform (MRP) has been under development to provide new capabilities for implementing indoor farming cyber-physical systems. The MRP can monitor the growing status of individual strawberry plants and fruit and non-destructively harvest individual ripe strawberries. An open-loop fruit positioning and handling algorithm, capable of performing the tasks of fruit detection, localization, grasping, detachment, and placement, has been developed. The robot can autonomously classify each strawberry fruit’s growth scene through the fusion of the detection results and the corresponding depth information, to determine whether to perform the harvesting action. A novel observational learning approach for fruit detachment using a soft gripper has been developed to separate the fruit’s sepal and the stem by a drag-and-rotate motion. The experiments conducted in a commercial indoor strawberry farm showed an overall success rate of 88% in handling harvestable strawberries. The average harvesting cycle time was found to be 10.5s.

Co-authors: Profs. K.C. Ting, Yibin Ying, Tao Lin, Liangjing Yang and Girish Chowdhary