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How Singrow Leverages The Augmentus Platform to Automate Strawberry Pollination and Harvesting


Image: Demonstration of robotic arm programming for urban farms with an iPad

On a global scale, robots for agriculture is one of the biggest trends for 2020, as the world struggles to reduce its vulnerability to volatility.


As a small country that relies so much on foreign imports, Singapore has to adapt. With Singapore’s “30 by 30” goal to have 30% of its food supply onshore, agri-food tech startups are in the spotlight for supporting this movement. S$55 million from Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has also been assigned to boost the growth of local agriculture and aquaculture companies. With the support of institutions, Singrow can innovate and incorporate the most suitable technology in their farms.


By centralising the programming platform, Augmentus has automated urban farming in Singrow’s vertical farms.


Image: Demonstration of a robotic arm with Artificial Intelligence to Senior Minister

About Singrow

Strawberries require a cold climate to survive and grow, thus tropical and desert areas are unable to cultivate them. To solve this issue, Singrow uses state-of-the-art technology to grow premium strawberries in the places you would least expect.


In tropical regions like Singapore, strawberries are often expensive, sour and have unstable supply. Singrow solves all of those issues using proprietary agriculture technology and having an entire agricultural system from breeding to harvesting.


The Challenge


Automating Pollination & Harvesting

The main challenges to achieve this is that:

  1. Small and fragile flowers and strawberries require delicate handling by the robotic arm.

  2. High-level AI model is needed to identify flowers in full-bloom and ripe strawberries, among the stems and leaves.

  3. Technology needed for all the steps from seedling propagation, pollination to harvesting are provided by multiple sources, making it time-consuming and costly to coordinate.


The Solution


Footage by Sumita Thiagarajan, Mothership

AI Model to Identify Ripe Strawberries & Flowers

Augmentus’s integrated artificial intelligence (AI) model can identify both flowers and strawberries, eliminating the need for separate systems.


Once the flowers are identified by a camera on the robotic arm, the fan gets activated to blow faster for more effective pollination.


By matching the strawberry to its database using a camera or infrared scanner, the robot can be programmed to pick out ripe strawberries with a suitable end-effector.


Image: Urban farming; strawberry harvesting using a robotic arm

Unified Programming Software

Dynamic automation is often a fragmented process. For example, it is cumbersome to have separate hosts for the AI model and the programming software. Since Singrow plans to automate their entire agricultural system, there has to be a one-stop solution for all the steps required from pollination to harvesting.


This is where Augmentus value-adds to the Singrow technology ecosystem.


Without the extra trouble to source for multiple suppliers and programmers, having this unified platform is ideal for SMEs with limited resources that seek dynamic automation.


No Code Robotics

With code-free robot programming, this reduces the technical barrier for robot operators to activate the robots.


Through mixed reality, the tablet or mobile device displays a live video feed of the robotic arm and its movements. Using simple waypoints by tapping on the tablet screen, the user can easily program the robotic arms to grab the strawberries, without technical expertise.


Image: (from left to right) Daryl Lim, Bao Shengjie and Xu Tao from Singrow, Yong Shin Leong and Chong Voon Foo

The Success

With a unified system for an integrated approach, Augmentus provides a simple yet dynamic solution for Singrow’s problems.


Our collaboration with Augmentus has enabled us to efficiently automate the harvesting and pollination processes of our proprietary strawberry growing platform. Development work like AI and robotics usually require high technical competency and time to develop and Augmentus has proven to be a valued partner in the agritech sector!

- Xu Tao, CTO of Singrow



By leveraging automation, this gives Singrow an edge to maximise output, given the limited land space. With a full stack solution, they could easily automate their farm, even with the financial restraints as an SME. With the growing need for local food sources and support from organisations, this might be an optimistic start for innovative technology in agriculture.


About Augmentus

Augmentus offers the leading full-stack code-free robotic automation platform that enables anyone, even those with no robotic experience, to develop robotic systems. We have partnerships with the world's leading robot manufacturers and automation providers to empower manufacturers to recoup ROI faster by lowering time, cost and skill barriers in robotic automation.


Augmentus ushers in a new era of human-machine interface, enabling 10X faster system deployments and saving thousands of automation costs within weeks of integration.


Visit our website for more information or book a demo to experience it.



References

Singapore Food Farming - 30 by 30

https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-farming


Robotic Trends

https://www.eenewseurope.com/news/robotic-trends-2020/page/0/1


More than S$55 million set aside to help agriculture and aquaculture firms innovate

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-food-security-agri-tech-55-million-innovate-12873640

ESG sets aside over S$55m for local agriculture, aquaculture firms

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/esg-sets-aside-over-s55m-for-local-agriculture-aquaculture-firms

$55 million grant to boost growth of local agri-food tech sector

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/55-million-grant-to-boost-growth-of-local-agri-food-tech-sector

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