Automated growing system for in-row production systems

This finding integrates a complex orchard configuration with a novel technological solution that allows smart orchard management, providing savings in labor and production factors.

Title of the patent Automated growing system for in-row production systems
Ownership Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna
Inventors Claudio Rossi, Luca Corelli Grappadelli
Protection Italy (opportunity for seeking patent protection internationally)
Licensing status Available for licensing agreements
Keywords Orchard, fruit, automation, precision farming, smart monitoring, mowing, herbicide application, soil cultivation, harvest, pruning, thinning
Filed on Mar 10, 2020

Increasingly, automation and digital technologies converge on agriculture, providing solutions to improve environmental efficiency, reduce C-footprint and labor-dependency of fruit growing.

A novel technology platform coupled to a smart orchard system form an innovative bundle increasing the efficiency of key orchard management operations, including facilitating smart monitoring of key orchard parameters via sensor suites.

This system represents an ideal mating of a technological infrastructure with smart orchard solutions, creating an ideal combination between biology and engineering, increasing orchard productivity and sustainability.

It can autonomously perform mowing, herbicide application, soil cultivation, and simultaneously monitor several tree/orchard parameters. It supports labor in pruning, thinning and harvest.

It's comprised of a smart orchard integrating state of the art solutions in tree training, spacings, fixed spraying system, hail and insect protection and specifically featuring a rail supported by posts, on which the mobile platform moves. It uses only electric energy stored in on board battery pack, for supplying traction system and implements.

This invention is conceived specifically for innovative 2-D apple orchards, but it can be adopted in orchard of other species, provided they follow the same design criteria.


  • Increased yields and fruit quality
  • Reduced labor costs and of production factors
  • 100% reduction of fossil fuel use
  • Savings in irrigation water
  • Increased sustainability and reduction of the orchard C-footprint
  • Artificial Intelligence solutions for smart orchard management