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“Very interesting ‘look under the hood’, this gives confidence for the future.”

On July 14 and 15, Blue Radix organized the very first Autonomous Grower Days for Dutch customers. During these virtual meetings growers were informed about the latest developments in autonomous growing.

“The idea for the Autonomous Grower Day came from our Dutch customers,” explains Ronald Hoek, CEO of Blue Radix. ”They expressed the need to talk to other growers about autonomous growing. It is a fairly new development, so we understand very well that our customers also want to share their experiences with each other and discuss integration into their business. It was also a good opportunity for us to provide more information about our latest major release, which allowed us to go into more depth.

Because of the rising corona infections, we organized the meetings online at the last minute. There will also be an online session for international customers. The idea is to really expand the Autonomous Grower Day into a big event in the future where we also invite other growers and external keynote speakers.”

Setpoint Optimizer takes over manual settings climate computer
Rudolf de Vetten, CPO and ultimately responsible for the product development of Blue Radix, explained how Crop Controller’s Setpoint Optimizer works. The Setpoint Optimizer takes over the grower’s daily manual settings in the climate computer. Crop Controller takes all external influences into account, such as the weather, and recalculates the best possible combination of setpoints every hour, taking into consideration the strategy, the grower’s preferences, and the specific characteristics of the greenhouse. Growers shift their attention to crop strategy and registration, which they review several times a week. Crop Controller’s algorithms automatically send setpoints to the climate computer every hour. The climate computer then controls the physical installations, such as the windows, heating and screens. This enables Crop Controller to implement the grower’s crop strategy.

Do algorithms start to believe in themselves over time?
Bram van Rens, Principal Data Strategist at Blue Radix talked more about the technology behind Crop Controller’s Setpoint Optimizer. How do autonomous setpoints come about using artificial intelligence? That process is divided into three steps, with the algorithms taking into account a large number of dimensions where greenhouse and plant dynamics are modeled and predicted. He explained how the historical data are selected, how the algorithms are trained and how the predictions are made based on artificial intelligence. An interesting question during one of the meetings was: Do algorithms start believing in themselves at some point? Bram indicated that the Crop Controller models do not start repeating themselves and keep steering towards the most optimal climate for the crop strategy.

Finally, Rudolf gave insight into how Blue Radix has set up a highly scalable platform in collaboration with Microsoft, and this platform is already driving operational processes in 150+ greenhouses, including energy.

Some responses from growers after the event
“Very interesting ‘look under the hood’, this gives confidence for the future.”
“I found it interesting to get further acquainted with the foundation of the system. I think it’s important to know how it thinks, so I can deal with it even better.”
“Interesting afternoon, so much is still possible, this development can’t go fast enough for me.”

Want to know more about autonomous growing?
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