The 30-ton Field Scanalyzer, the world's largest agricultural robot, bridges a row of green crops as it scans them.
13 Aug, 2020

The research team hopes that their results will enable farmers to grow crops in increasingly challenging conditions.

World's Largest Agricultural Robot Could Help Crops Withstand Climate Change

CyVerse co-principal investigator Eric Lyons leads a team of students who use the CyVerse Data Store to process the thousands of images – up to 10 terabytes of data per day – generated by the Field Scanalyzer, the world's largest agricultural robot.


A Wall Street Journal article and accompanying video show how the technology, and the knowledge derived from the data it collects, could help scientists and growers produce the "crops of the future."

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A headshot of CyVerse co-principal investigator Eric Lyons.
CyVerse co-principal investigator Eric Lyons is an associate professor in the University of Arizona's School of Plant Sciences.

To that end, Lyons' team is working to manage the project's data streams and distributed computing, including machine learning algorithms that can patch together the thousands of crop photos generated by the Scanalyzer daily and also make certain assessments, such as tracking individual plants over time.

The project requires integrating multiple different types of data while accounting for the many different analyses they require, in order to produce results that can help plant breeders and growers understand how crops respond to stressors during the growing season.

University of Arizona graduate student Emmanuel Gonzalez, who works with both the computational and fieldwork aspects of the project, is quoted in the video:

"My hope is that as a breeder in the future I can collect data that can inform growers into growing their crops more sustainably. And what that would hopefully translate into is also making this technology available widespread, not just to farmers here in the United States, but also casting a wider net, throughout the world."