2017-2020 Green Shield : Pesticide Free Robotized Pest Control in Agriculture

This project has just been granted by ANR. It officially starts in October 2017.
It involves Ampère, BF2I, FEMTO-ST and INL laboratories and Green Shield Technology (GST) start-up.
It aims at designing and prototyping a mobile robot to detect and kill pests in fields during 42 months.

The use of pesticides appears natural and exclusive to us because our civilization has relied on them since antiquity. Pest damage results in economic production losses to the agricultural industry, estimated from 28 to 50% (in Africa and Asia) of annual productions. Therefore, the European Union uses approximately 360 million kg of pesticides per year for
agricultural and horticultural tasks. However, pesticide application methods are inefficient (only 0.3% of sprayed pesticides from aerial application comes in contact with the target pest). All this led to alarming consequences in public health, the environment, and economically. In 2003, environmental and economic costs associated with pesticide use were
estimated to total approximately 10 billion dollars per year in the US.
In its “Ecophyto” plan, French government has decided to reduce by 50% the use of pesticides by 2018. Unfortunately, alternatives to pesticides being too scarce, the objective has been postponed to 2025. So far, no purely technological and versatile method has been developed to replace pesticides. Detection techniques still do not take advantage of spectral techniques to detect pests (they detect sick plants, so too late). For instance, in 2012, some robots have collaborated with humans in vineyards to decide where to spray with various levels of autonomy. Results showed 90% accuracy of grape cluster detection leading to 30% reduction in the use of pesticides [1] . Some studies introduce ways to detect pests on leaves
with a camera, but due to the challenges of on-site detection, most of them relied on scanning under highly controlled light conditions.

Greenshield Project aims at reducing the use of pesticides by developing a robotic module to be embedded on a terrestrial vehicle (mobile robot, farming tractor, ...) to fight against crop pests (invertebrates, diseases, weeds). This module will autonomously detect pests and destroy them with a laser. When mounted on mobile robots patrolling
through crop fields, it will scan the plants and collect accurate data regarding pests that will be used to optimize the action of robots. This new means of fighting will settle a new sustainable paradigm of pest control to better combat them.

In this project, the method of targeting pests for detection and destruction has been patented by the firm Green Shield Technology which will industrialize the results of this project.

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