Plagues have become a serious threat to the quality of the grape and the yield of viticulture in areas, such as Alto Douro, where wine production is of great importance to the economic sector.
Estimating the quantity and type of treatments to apply in order to control these diseases is particularly challenging due to the unpredictability of the threats, as well as to intrinsic difficulties in performing risk monitoring. This monitoring is currently carried out by deploying insect traps, which attract insects present in the production environment and then allow a human operator to identify them. However, this is a time-consuming process and for which no geographical distributed data is available. Insect recognition also requires the contribution of taxonomy experts, which adversely affects the cost and time effectiveness of the whole process.
Within this context, the EyesOnTraps project proposes a mobile solution for plague prevention. By using computer vision (artificial intelligence) and crowd sensing, the project supports local temperature registration, automated insect detection in traps and treatment recommendation for detected plagues, in order to lessen human error and improve analysis. The system architecture will consider modularity and scalability as primary concerns, allowing future system expansion to support detection of new insect types.
The system considers three aspects: (1) a mobile application for the winegrower, for use in the field, in order to automatically recognize and account for insects in traps, collect the local temperature history and record the phenological status; (2) a central web module, for centralization and storage of information reported by the winegrower, which provides monitoring recommendations, while having the flexibility to expand its automatic detection capabilities to new insects in the future; and (3) a web portal for taxonomy specialists, for remote use, which allows the observation of the results of the automatic monitoring of insects in different parcels or geographic regions, making it possible to trigger a timely response to the detected plagues, in strict collaboration with winegrowers.
The system is intended to provide support to producers and entrepreneurs in the Douro region, where grape production is one of the leading economic sectors in Portugal and, at the same time, the most vulnerable due to the increasingly alarming consequences of climate change and plagues, which have become a serious threat to the quality of the grape and the yield of viticulture.