The InsightTRAC Rover is a revolutionary tool for growers to better manage their orchards and improve their profits. With its advanced machine learning and sight-tracking technology, the rover is designed to find and remove mummy nuts (pest-infested nuts) while providing real-time insights into the health and productivity of the orchard.
InsightTRAC is a robotic system developed to address a major problem facing the almond industry in California and Australia. During the almond harvest, not every almond is ready to come off the tree. These leftover almonds, called mummies, turn rotten and black when the leaves fall off the trees in winter. A pest called the naval orange worm burrows inside these mummies and hibernates, emerging in spring as a moth that damages the yield and quality of the next crop. The almond board of California has set a standard of two or less mummies per tree to start the crop year in the best possible way.
The current methods for removing mummies from the trees are limited, relying on shakers to dislodge them during the fall or manual labor to remove them during the winter. These methods are often unreliable, backbreaking, and costly, which creates a demand for a better solution. InsightTRAC’s ground robot is designed to address this demand.
Robotic mummy removal
InsightTRAC’s robot is built on a track that can navigate any terrain or weather. It identifies and removes mummies from the trees using machine learning and site tracking technology. The robot can operate in any weather condition, including rain or shine, and is accurate up to 30 feet. It uses lights on the side of the rover to operate 24/7 even during the night. The robot is battery-operated, and when the batteries run low, a generator kicks on and runs for approximately 40 minutes before the batteries are fully charged. The robot is fully autonomous with GPS and lidar technology to navigate around obstacles, and a grower sets up the pre-planned route before the rover goes out into the orchard to begin its project.
The robot’s machine learning technology has been trained to identify what a mummy is and what it is not. When it rolls forward and stops in front of a section of the tree, it captures an image and maps out the fastest and quickest route to all the mummies in a matter of seconds. Once it identifies all the mummies in its mapped route, it removes each mummy in under one second.
InsightTRAC can also collect valuable data about every tree, variety, and acre in the orchard to present the grower with a heat map. In the end, this heat map will show the grower where they are heaviest in the orchard with mummies and where they were lightest, how many mummies in total were moved, and over time, the grower will be able to optimize the efficiency and speed of the machine by analyzing the data.
The InsightTRAC robot is designed to be in the orchard 365 days a year, and is built to be extremely robust. The hardware components can be added in the future through software updates. The first delivery of these units will be in California in Q4 of 2023.
Removing mummies (dried fruit left on trees) from almond orchards is important, specifically to combat the naval orange worm pest. The robot uses biodegradable pellets to shoot and destroy the mummies, removing the need for manual labor-intensive removal methods such as shaking trees or hand-pulling mummies. The robot’s navigation is pre-programmed, and it can cover a range of up to 30 feet, making it more effective than manual labor methods. InsightTRAC is selling the units directly to growers, and they have partnered with a vendor to provide a subscription plan for biodegradable pellets.
Price and market
InsightTRAC has finished the last round of testing for their Rovers and will be shipping them to California and Australia for the winter sanitation season. The robots, priced at US $210,000, have already received a handful of orders. The company is exploring the possibility of exporting the Rovers to Europe in the near future.
- Capable of removing mummies from trees in an orchard
- Covers over 700 acres (with 130 trees per acre) in 60 days
- Can remove an average of 15 mummies per tree
- Works in all weather conditions
- Navigation system uses pre-planned routes with GPS and lidar
- Does not have any contact with trees
- Dimensions: 3.5 ft (1.1m) wide, 5ft (1.5m) long, and 6 ft (1.8m) tall
- Weight: 2,500 pounds (1134 kg)
- Increased Efficiency: The rover travels through the orchard and precisely removes mummy nuts to industry-standard, without damaging the trees. The goal is to have 2 or fewer mummy nuts per tree.
- Weather Independence: The InsightTRAC Rover operates rain or shine, fog or no fog, providing growers with a reliable solution no matter the weather conditions.
- Improved Data Management: The rover provides growers with useful data on the quantity, location, and variety of mummy nuts removed, allowing them to proactively manage their orchards year after year.
- No Manual Labor Needed: With the InsightTRAC Rover, growers no longer need to depend on hand-poling labor, which can be scarce and unreliable.
- 24/7 Operation: The rover operates around the clock, providing a high-quality, continuous solution for mummy nut removal.
- Increased Yield and Crop Health: With fewer mummy nuts, growers can expect to see an increase in yield and a healthier farm. The average net profit increase is estimated at $100 to $300 per acre.
The InsightTRAC Rover is a cutting-edge solution for the almond industry and offers growers a new level of control over their orchards. With its advanced technology and 24/7 operation, the rover is a tool that can help growers maximize their profits and improve the health of their crops.
InsightTRAC has received multiple accolades for its innovative technology in the agriculture industry, including winning a Top 50 Robotics Innovation Award and being named a Top-10 Product for 2022 by World Ag Expo. The company’s CEO, Anna Haldewang, has also been recognized for her leadership, being added to the AgriNovus Board and named Innovative Small Business of the Year 2021. She was also nominated for the Rising Entrepreneur Award 2021 by TechPoint. Haldewang is a design student turned agtech entrepreneur.
The company is focused on winter sanitation at this time, but they plan to expand to other crops and seasons in the future. They are looking for strategic partners to help grow and scale their product, as well as hiring for software and product development engineers.
More information Insighttrac’s website
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