Lygus rugulipennis is the most important of the strawberry pests. To combat this insect, the Spanish company Agrobot has launched BugVacuum, a self-propelled vacuum cleaner capable of sucking up insects by autonomously navigating between the rows. The robot acts by automatically adjusting the height of the fans to optimal levels.
Robot sucks up insects in the field
Lygus is a serious economic pest that also affects strawberry production in California. The bug has widespread resistance to many insecticides, so according to the manufacturer Agrobot, mechanical suction of Lygus is an effective method to remove this insect.
The Bug Vacuum navigates reactively through the field, so the farmer only has to manage it to the starting point and select 'Automatic Mode'. The robot detects the plants as guiding references as long as it is within the row. Once the furrows are finished, the navigation controller decides the next move: cross the road to the next row, turn back or finish the routine.
The robot operates at a speed of 4 km/h and has an autonomy of 15 hours. The fans generate an air flow with a speed of 50 km/h; it was recently tested at the Cal Poly Strawberry Center (USA).