Autonomous cultivation is the holy grail for greenhouses; but what does that look like?

Hands-free growing, autonomous cultivation, growing as a service, data-drive growing; if you’ve been following greenhouse horticulture for a while, you will come across these terms more and more often. Experts believe that this is the way to grow enough healthy and safe food all over the world. 

But what exactly is hands-free or autonomous cultivation? Everyone in the sector has their own ideas about it. It may not seem important in itself, but time and again, it turns out that it is useful to ‘speak the same language.’ If a robot developer says to a market grower: ‘We will be able to supply the technology for autonomous cultivation in two years’ time,’ both parties may have a different concept about that.

A grower may think that such a robot is capable of doing all the work independently, while the robot developer envisages a system that can do part of the work itself, but that an employee must always be present to carry out some of the tasks. Before you even realize it, both parties are dissatisfied. The grower does not want to buy the system after two years because it is not yet really fully autonomous, and the developer will have to keep on developing it for much longer before they can really start selling it.

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