3D pose estimation of tomato peduncle nodes using deep keypoint detection and point cloud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Greenhouse production of fruits and vegetables in developed countries is challenged by labour scarcity and high labour costs. Robots offer a good solution for sustainable and cost-effective production. Acquiring accurate spatial information about relevant plant parts is vital for successful robot operation. Robot perception in greenhouses is challenging due to variations in plant appearance, viewpoints, and illumination. This paper proposes a keypoint-detection-based method using data from an RGB-D camera to estimate the 3D pose of peduncle nodes, which provides essential information to harvest the tomato bunches. Specifically, this paper proposes a method that detects four anatomical landmarks in the colour image and then integrates 3D point-cloud information to determine the 3D pose. A comprehensive evaluation was conducted in a commercial greenhouse to gain insight into the performance of different parts of the method. The results showed: (1) high accuracy in object detection, achieving an Average Precision (AP) of [email protected]=0.96; (2) an average Percentage of Detected Joints (PDJ) of the keypoints of [email protected] = 94.31%; and (3) 3D pose estimation accuracy with mean absolute errors (MAE) of 11o and 10o for the relative upper and lower angles between the peduncle and main stem, respectively. Furthermore, the capability to handle variations in viewpoint was investigated, demonstrating the method was robust to view changes. However, canonical and higher views resulted in slightly higher performance compared to other views. Although tomato was selected as a use case, the proposed method has the potential to be applied to other greenhouse crops, such as pepper, after fine-tuning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-69
Number of pages13
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


  • Deep learning
  • Detectron2
  • Keypoint detection
  • Peduncle
  • Point cloud
  • Pose estimation


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