UV - ROBOT - Innovative UV-robotics to improve existing IPM strategies and to benefit farmers, consumers and the environment

Project Summary

An important disease in many crops is mildew. Current horticultural practices rely on intensive pesticide use to counter it. However, the use of chemical crop protection results in spray residues on the harvested product and mildew infections cannot always be prevented. Scientific research showed that UV-C light has the potential to become a sustainable alternative for chemical mildew control. The application of UV-C still need to be optimized and automation is required to allow introduction in horticulture. UV-ROBOT will try to tackle these issues and has three main goals:

  • Develop robots for autonomous mildew control
  • Integrate UV-C in current IPM strategies
  • Implement the innovation by growers

In the course of the project we will develop, test and demonstrate cost-effective UV-C robots to control mildew in three types of crops:

  • Spherical: strawberry
  • Vertical: tomato and cucumber
  • Horizontal: lettuce and basil

Horticultural experts in Belgium and the UK will together find ways to incorporate UV-C in current IPM (Integrated Pest Management) strategies of each crop. Belgian expertise in automation and French expertise in data analysis will jointly develop innovative robots that can autonomously apply UV-C. On top, the co-creation of innovative sensors for automatic mildew monitoring by a UK partner specialized in e-nose development will reduce the farmers’ workload and ensure tight disease control.

At the end of the project the developed robots will be available for growers with a user-friendly interface and a crop specific implementation strategy. Demonstration across the NWE region and extensive communication during and after the project will inform growers to ensure innovation roll-out. We hereby aim to lower growers’ dependence on chemical crop protection and thereby reduce pesticide use and spray residues in horticulture across North-West Europe.

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Proefcentrum Hoogstraten 71 Voort
stef.laurijssen@proefcentrum.be www.proefcentrum.be
Name Contact Name Email Country
Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt Lieve Wittemans lieve.wittemans@proefstation.be Belgium
Octinion Jan Anthonis janthonis@octinion.be Belgium
STC Research Foundation Lauren Branfield lauren.branfield@stc-nyorks.co.uk United Kingdom
CESI Chantal Hurard churard@cesi.fr France
Roboscientific Limited Stan Curtis stan@roboscientific.com United Kingdom
Comité d’Action Technique et Economique Marine Guerret marine.guerret@cate.bzh France
Comité Départemental de Développement Maraîche Brigitte Pelletier brigitte.pelletier@cddm.fr France
NIAB EMR Helen Cockerton helen.cockerton@emr.ac.uk United Kingdom


UV Robot : Basil

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Here in North Yorkshire, Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) is hard at work investigating the efficacy of UVC light for incorporation into existing Integrated Pest Management strategies primarily for the treatment of Basil Downy Mildew (caused by the fungal pathogen Peronospora belbahrii), but also delving into the effects of UVC light on Botrytis and both pests and beneficials. Read More

New trial at PSKW

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A new trial is planted today at the research station for vegetable production in Sint-Katelijne-Waver. The trial is being planted in a greenhouse with a high Bremia pressure. We will therefore not inoculate the lettuce afterwards, nor create a disease prone climate, like was done in previous trials. In those previous trials the Bremia infection was always too heavy to show significant working of the UV-robot. We hope the softer Bremia infection will lead to a better working of the UV-robot. Read More

First workshop UV-ROBOT

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Wednesday 20 September 2019 Proefcentrum Hoogstraten organized the first workshop of the UV-ROBOT project. This workshop about autonomous UV-C application on tabletop strawberries to control mildew gave the opportunity to present the project and the first results. Three speakers prepared a presentation for the audience containing strawberry growers, researchers and journalists. Read More


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