Very large farmlands, like the research hazelnut orchard in Ronciglione, inevitably risk wasting water, pesticides, fertiliser and other resources: all plants across large areas have to receive the same treatment, whether they need it or not. To solve this problem, researchers are working to make plant treatment more precise. “Precision farming allows us to carry out targeted treatments at the right time with the right quantities, depending on the actual needs of the plant — something that traditional agriculture today tends to neglect.” Determining the individual needs of each plant would take humans too much time and effort, so that’s where robots could help. This prototype is being developed to move around a hazelnut orchard autonomously, taking measurements of the trees. “We collect data with a laser scanner for 3D geometric reconstruction, and we use cameras to take multi-spectral and high-resolution images to assess the physical or health status of each tree.” The robots send their data to a centralised computer system, also developed by the European research project PANTHEON. An easy-to-use interface helps agronomists with everything they need to make their decisions — fr...