Computer vision for automatic inspection of agricultural produces
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Fruit and vegetables suffer different manipulations from the field to the final consumer. These are basically oriented towards the cleaning and selection of the product in homogeneous categories. For this reason, several research projects, aimed at fast, adequate produce sorting and quality control are currently under development around the world. Moreover, it is possible to find manual and semi-automatic commercial systems capable of reasonably performing these tasks. However, in many cases, their accuracy is incompatible with current European market demands, which are constantly increasing. IVIA, the Valencian Research Institute of Agriculture, located in Spain, has been involved in several European projects related with machine vision for real-time inspection of various agricultural produces. This paper will focus on the work related with two products that have different requirements: fruit and olives. In the case of fruit, the Institute has developed a vision system capable of providing assessment of the external quality of single fruit to a robot that also receives information from other sensors (firmness, aroma and sugar content sensors). The system uses four different views of each fruit and has been tested on peaches, apples and citrus. Processing time of each image is under 500 ms using a conventional PC. The system provides information about primary and secondary color, blemishes and their extension, and stem presence and position, which allows further automatic orientation of the fruit in the final box using a robotic manipulator. Work carried out in olives was devoted to fast sorting of olives for consumption at table. A prototype has been developed to demonstrate the feasibility of a machine vision system capable of automatically sorting 2500 kg/h olives using low-cost, conventional hardware.