Automation (Photo: ATB)

Contact: Volker DworakCornelia WeltzienRobin GebbersMichael SchirrmannManuela Zude

The methods and techniques of precision farming have not yet been widely disseminated. This is due among other things to the system inherent complexity and the associated time and cost expenditure for analyses and technology. For example, soil analyses in the laboratory, (hyper-) spectral imaging systems and corresponding high-performance computers are still very expensive.

Therefore, the field of automation and system development mainly focusses on the automation of data collection. Sensor systems are developed, starting from inexpensive multispectral cameras with custom-made algorithms up to integrated sensor-model-actor systems for water management, plant protection and fertilization. This also includes the development of an autonomous soil sampler (robot) with downstream analysis unit for measurement and mapping in the field. Economic evaluations are also part of the observations.

Another emphasis lies on the interconnection of complex process chains and the development of concepts for a digital agriculture 4.0. In this process, attention is paid to the growth in knowledge via data fusion and Big-Data analyses, the new potentials for on-farm-research, as well as the influence of the new techniques and methods on good practice. In the innovation initiative Agriculture 4.0 within the framework of the Leibniz research alliance “Sustainable Food Production and Healthy Nutrition”, the ATB cooperates with the ihp, ZALF and IGZ.

Current research

  • Which measuring techniques are especially suited for sensor-supported process control and how can these be developed (economically)?
  • Which measuring techniques are suitable for drone-based mapping of plant biomass and the plant condition? 
  • Which algorithms of the multi- and hyperspectral image processing qualify for the detection of plant characteristics?
  • How can technology from the area of Precision Agriculture enable on-farm experiments to increase the know-how in agriculture?
  • With which systemic approaches can we generate added values for agriculture and the environment and what technology is required/ needed for this task?
  • How can process automation and field robotics contribute to energy efficiency and resource conservation?
  • Which methods for monitoring the quality of work and system networking lead to efficiency enhancement?

Ongoing research projects 

  • Drone for inventory mapping
  • AgroBAT (funded by ERDF): Establishment of an infrastructure for the sensor development with ground- and air-based sensor carriers in Marquardt 
  • Sensing technologies for data collection of inventory parameters (biomass, leaf area)
  • Multispectral image processing for the ascertainment of plant characteristics
  • Automation of the thinning process
  • SmaArt (terminated): Sensor-supported, mechanical and adaptive floral thinning in the apple production
  • 3D-Mosaic (terminated): Advanced monitoring of tree crops for optimized management - How to cope with variability in soil and plant properties?
  • USER-PA (terminated): Usability of environmentally sound and reliable techniques in precision agriculture
  • At the research site Marquardt, a stone fruit plant serves in the long-time test TechnologyGarden as an example for the sensor-based precision horticulture.
Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie e.V.
Max-Eyth-Allee 100 · 14469 Potsdam · Germany
Tel. +49 (0)331 5699 0 · E-mail