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In the March edition of Dutch Kas Magazine, Ronald Hoek, Rudolf de Vetten and Laurens van der Spek talk about Blue Radix and Crop Controller. Grower Maikel van den Berg also talks about the added value of autonomous growing. Below a summary and a link to the whole article.

With a growing world population, the need for high-quality and healthy food is also growing. But with a lack of sufficient knowledge and a shortage of green fingers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve a high production level. To help greenhouse growers make the right decisions at the right time, Blue Radix offers smart solutions based on algorithms that exceed human capacity. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, must help growers to optimize their greenhouse climate, reduce water and energy consumption and limit their operational risks and ecological footprint, Ronald Hoek says.

Feed the world with algorithms
The success achieved during the 1st Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge was in fact the reason for the foundation of Blue Radix. The company works with a team of 15 people on the development of algorithms, specifically for greenhouse operations. With Hoek, De Vetten and Van der Spek as leaders, the company has independently made some great steps in horticulture in recent months.

Digital brain for the greenhouse
What exactly does Blue Radix have to offer horticulture? “In the answer to that question,” algorithms “is the keyword. Our algorithm-based solutions offer growers, as it were, a digital brain for their greenhouse. Many horticultural companies already use dashboards and digital advice, but we go one step further with our service “Crop Controller”. Algorithms really understand the grower’s strategy and carry out actions completely autonomously. In this way, the grower can increase control and make the success of his company less dependent on human knowledge and experience. ”

The right decisions
Laurens van der Spek emphasizes that artificial intelligence is not about self-thinking systems, but about self-learning systems. “We don’t want to compete with the cultivation experts within the sector, but if you have no or too few experts in your greenhouse, these kinds of algorithms are a very good alternative to make the right decisions.” Rudolf de Vetten: “It is about the combination of a system and a part of the service. The Crop Controller’s data models control the installations in the greenhouse 24/7, supported by off-site operators with in-depth knowledge of crops, energy and data. They guarantee that the algorithms keep running and more importantly, that they also give meaningful results. ”

Are you ready for autonomous growing?
“If you already have a lot of data in your climate computer and the crop registration is in order and recorded, you are in principle prepared to take the step towards autonomous cultivation. It doesn’t require huge investments, it’s about the right mindset. It is mainly up to Blue Radix to tell, explain and make the story practical, ”says Van der Spek. “We have to take away a bit of mystique when it comes to algorithms and make it clear that you can do very smart things based on data.”

Grower Maikel van den Berg MR seeds & Quality Peppers about autonomous growing:
“When I look at myself, I’ve always spent a lot of time growing. As a result, I had less time for things like sales and marketing. With autonomous cultivation I create more peace around the daily operation and I am also able to realize my cultivation strategy. After all, I no longer have to keep track of and analyze all data myself. This also includes the added value of cultivation with algorithms. ”

Click on the image to read the article (PDF). Only in Dutch available.