As part of the agROBOfood project, BioSense Institute is providing support to the QualiSpot Industrial Challenge experiment, chosen and awarded through an open call.
The goal of the agROBOfood project is to encourage the effective application of robotic technologies in the agricultural and food sectors. Such an application is QualiSpot; a solution that offers a wide range of components intended for common and intelligent spray robots.
One of agROBOfood’s partners and Digital Innovation Hub is BioSense Institute; a Research and Development Institute for IT in biosystems and a pioneer in digital transformation of agriculture in Serbia.
BioSense explores scientific and technological frontiers regarding the application of IT in agriculture and strives to deliver state-of-the- art digital solutions to the farming sector.
BioSense explores scientific and technological frontiers regarding the application of IT in agriculture and strives to deliver state-of-the- art digital solutions to the farming sector in Serbia and the world, in order to ensure higher yields with smaller investments.
Spot Spraying and the Future of Farming
QualiSpot demonstrates how optimized spraying leads to improved environmental conditions due to significant inherent pesticide savings.
The predecessor project FieldCompanion allowed Ambimetrics, together with its partners, to construct spot spray components at TRL6.
To allow successful market rollout, the spot spray components delivered to machinery manufacturers, have to meet very tight quality standards and be backward compatible with the fleets of machines already deployed across the Globe.
The important thing to point out is that QualiSpot not only strives to develop new technology but also drives quality and market maturity of existing components to generate global market impact. Taking into account design, manufacturing, and service delivery throughout QualiSpot production process, creates a powerful solution that meets the requirements and needs of modern farming.
Fully aligned with the quest for a sustainable future, QualiSpot acknowledges and supports the strategies put forward by the EU’s Green Deal, the Biodiversity and the Farm to Fork Strategy, as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, for a sustainable future where “nobody is left behind”.
Challenges and way forward
In a recent interview provided by Christian Rodriguez (one of QualiSpot team leaders) to BioSense Institute, special mention was made to the problems faced by manufacturers of robotic components in today’s complex landscape.
From a business perspective, the most important issue for Ambimetrics…is our position in the product supply chain: we are on the lower side of it.
We only develop a part of the whole product independently from the sector we work in so we depend on others to put our products on the market… we depend on farmers being interested in the sprayer sold by our direct client. Sprayer prize, marketing and the whole performance are out of our scope.
As regards the reasoning for participating in agROBOfood’s Industrial Challenge, Mr. Rodriguez referred to the need to connect, as a component developer, with downstream machinery manufacturers to bring our custom-made components to international markets.
Therefore, through agROBOfood’s dynamic network, the company can find the tools and connections to reach the global market and succeed in it.
As for the future, the main objective of Qualispot is to assure that existing spot spraying components meet customers’ quality needs, while at the same time maintaining AMBI’s ability to swiftly and cost-efficiently react to new customer/market requirements.
Solutions that solve actual problems
Ambimetrics has been able to change their development processes from top to bottom both in the software area and the hardware. Having introduced the Continuous Integration system within their projects, allows them to detect bugs sooner in the development process.
Moreover, they have also introduced a Test-Driven Design standpoint, creating a great base of tests for all the already developed codes. As for new functionalities for each software release, new codes were added. This resulted in fewer bugs, better quality and greater reliability for the end-users.
On the hardware side, several automated testers and simulators were created for QualiSpot components to ensure analysis of more devices in less time, while avoiding human action.
How to deal with increased demand & maintain high quality?
There are two ways to ensure higher production rate and high quality at the same time.
The first step is to ensure validation of upward supply chain provider elements. The second is to make sure that the manufactured components are free of design/components bugs in a fast, traceable way.
On the field, Qualispot has allowed us to put to test our latest developments. In this area, the most important thing we figured out is the lack of suitable measurement tools for precision agriculture in the sector. Coming from very demanding sectors concerning accuracy, traceability and precision, we are facing a shortage of “good” tools to demonstrate our components (and so the client´s robot sprayers which use them) are capable of being as efficient as we state.
Global impact & Competitive edge
So far, the robotic spot sprayers and the sprayers using QualiSpot components are gaining technical awards in national and international exhibitions concerning innovation (from 2014).
On the field, farmers and researchers are sowing significant benefits thanks to the unique combination of sprayer technology and QualiSpot control systems and other components.
QualiSpot and Agriculture
QualiSpot has given AMBIMETRICS the chance to deepen its knowledge into agriculture services and get the chance to produce market-ready, high-tech devices for agricultural companies and end-users.
Read the full interview here.