The algorithm, embedded with other IoT technologies, could be a turning point for defeating the citrus greening disease.
In the past decade, the citrus greening disease has plagued Florida’s enormous citrus grove industry. The disease, which infects all citrus trees, can kill off entire trees for multiple harvests, and is the primary reason for increased citrus cost.
To negate the spread of citrus greening, researchers at the Florida Polytechnic University are in the process of developing an algorithm, capable of accurately predicting if trees are infected with the disease.
The algorithm receives live images of thousands of healthy and infected groves, and is able to compare and identify infected trees. From this, grove owners will be able to consolidate their losses more efficiently and save money.
A lot of smaller owners are unable to afford trained inspectors or high-tech equipment, but Dr. Muhammed Abid, assistant computer science professor at Florida Poly and leader of the project, said: “Some solutions rely on costly hardware or software. The price can be too high for smaller operations. The algorithm was designed to work with any digital camera – even a simple webcam will be sufficient in most cases.”
While a simple camera setup may suffice small owners, large fields could be monitored remotely by drones, giving the algorithm more angles to see the groves.
Florida is the largest provider of citrus fruits in the United States, responsible for over 90 percent of all orange juice sold in the country. The industry is worth $9 billion, and employs over 75,000 people, making the citrus greening disease a potential epidemic for the state.
Dr. Abid is hoping to make the algorithm available as an app and make it available for public use. This, embedded with other Internet of Things (IoT) technologies coming into farming and agriculture, may be a turning point for defeating the citrus greening disease.