New AI technology being tested at blueberry farm in Marion County

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — Workers at a Marion County blueberry field are putting a new machine to good use.


It’s using artificial intelligence to reduce the workload and could change the future of agriculture.

The MARS-X rover may look like a vehicle exploring another planet, but being put to the test in Central Florida.

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Plant science meets science fiction as the “Modular Agricultural Robotic System” roams the rows of a research field in Citra.

Onboard cameras gage each berry while lasers gage each bush, sending terabytes worth of data to an onboard computer.

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“Machine learning models can count the number of fruits and flowers, we cannot immediately count them, so that’s what A.I. models do,” said Dr. Charlie Li, professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida.

Artificial intelligence and emerging technologies are being hailed as the fourth agricultural revolution.

While MARS-X is currently only surveying the field, the next step is to develop robots to pick and harvest.

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