Field Scanalyzer: Automated Robotic System for Modern High-Throughput Field Phenotyping

by Pouria Sadeghi-Tehran

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The world’s first fully automated field phenotyping facility, the Field Scanalyzer, was constructed in May 2015 at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, U.K. The facility comprises a motorised gantry that carries a large range of cameras and sensors for simultaneous and non-destructive analyses of plant development, health and architecture. 

The facility will continually monitor crops within an 11m x 114m area and the data collected will provide a detailed picture of crop development and health across the entire lifecycle, with a high-degree of accuracy and reproducibility. Employed sensors comprise of high-resolution visible, chlorophyll fluorescence and thermal infrared cameras, two hyperspectral imagers and dual 3D laser scanners.

Although the ability to collect data is now established, challenges remain in terms of processing the huge volume of data generated by the platform, as well as the ability to develop robust and fast algorithms to analyse the data according to the sensor used. Variations in environmental conditions will add further noise and these caveats present a challenge to develop robust computer vision algorithms that can be applied to analyse data images.