Strawberry test field for harvesting robot in Gifhorn

24.05.2022  — 

The outskirts of the IAV site in Gifhorn have been a busy place recently. This is where a separate test infrastructure for the crop robot is being built, which has already picked strawberries on the site of the project partner “Karls Erdbeerhof” last year. In future, it will also be said in Gifhorn: On the plants, let’s get started.

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The area was already leveled for construction at the end of 2021. On an area of about 360 square meters, there is now a membrane tunnel under which in May, racks of strawberries in a total of five plants will find a new home.

“With our own small strawberry field, we map the conditions that we find at our customer near Rostock as realistically as possible directly at our development site. This enables us to complete faster development loops and make adjustments to the robot directly on site, without the high logistical effort up to now,” says Enrico Neumann, Product Manager Harvesting Systems at IAV.

In this season, three to four robots will be picking the fruit on Karl’s Erdbeerhof. Another prototype also harvests in Gifhorn. In this way, successive technical optimizations are tested and reflected back into the test fleet.

To ensure that the new testing infrastructure actually reaches the customer’s planting, the new hall is equipped with a number of technical features. “In addition to our own irrigation system, our strawberry plantation also has important automation systems. Sensors measure important environmental factors for plants, such as wind speed, solar radiation and temperature. Ventilation slots and gates in the tent can be opened and closed automatically, so that we can create the basic conditions that strawberries need for optimal maturation,” says Project Manager Dr. Manus Thiel. Until the end of 2023, the project will be tested and picked heret.