The European horti- and agriculture sector is challenged by an increasing world population with an ever-growing food demand. This demand needs to be produced in an increasingly sustainable manner without the use of pesticides and their undesirable effect on environment, biodiversity and health. The EU Green Deal’s Farm to Fork strategy requires a 50% reduction of pesticides use in 2030. The EU encourages Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a methodology based on economic pest control supressing pests instead of eradicating them. However, the large-scale transition to IPM is hampered by the fact that each pest requires different countermeasures with contradictory effects, while this tailored approach is both labour and resource intensive.

PATS has developed I-CATCH, a bio-inspired drone system for automated monitoring and mechanical elimination of flying pest insect populations in greenhouses. I-CATCH system consists of a computer vision system able to detect, track and distinguish harmful pest insects with AI-based software. The system controls a small, bat-like drone with fast in-crop manoeuvrability for accurate insect elimination by mid-air collision with the drone’s propellers. Autonomous and 24/7 operability is secured by a charging platform.

Start Date: December 2020
Duration: 17 months
Contact Person: Mr. Bram Tijmons