Smart regulation

Mandatory government crop inspections for disease are typically carried out by agriculture professional inspecting the crops on foot in the fields and taking note of any disease stricken plants. With the advent of fast computer processors, artificial intelligence and accurate positioning, the project tested whether new technology is now capable of taking over on this manual and time-consuming task.

Initiative 5.3 of the Danish Digital strategy: smarter government regulation

In the summer of 2019, the Smarter government regulation project tested the possibilities for streamlining a so far manually implemented government regulation on crop inspection through digitalization and data integration. The case selected was crop inspection for viruses in seed potato fields as performed by the Danish Agricultural Agency. The project forms part of the Digital strategy 2016-2020 initiative 5.3 on Infrastructure for positioning and navigation data.


The project

The purpose of the project was to test the available technologies that are most suitable for making crop inspections digital and autonomous. For example by using image recognition algorithms, an autonomous vehicle, accurate positioning and drone technology. The project tested possible avenues for digital and more effective crop inspection and with results indicating that more attention should be put to training the algorithms used for identifying disease in crops. Under ideal conditions, the used autonomous vehicle (Robotti) is expected to be able to cover approx. 500 meters of seed potato plants and identify and position the diseased plants at about the same speed as the corresponding manually performed task. However, accomplishing this speed does not have much validity as long as the success rate for correctly identified diseased plants is as low as achieved in the project (8%).


Why is the Smarter government regulation pilot project important?

The Smart Regulation pilot project used accurate positioning in the form of corrections from SDFE's permanent GNSS reference stations and also tested a simulation of Galileo's High Accuracy service (HAS), which is expected to be made available in 2022. TAPAS could also be used, but was opted out for practical reasons as the project took place outside the TAPAS coverage area (North Jutland).


Project Partners:

The project group consisted of SDFE as project manager and with the Danish Agricultural Agency, SEGES and Agrointelli as project partners.



Per Kolbeck Nielsen

26 JULY 2021