Angle estimation between plant parts for grasp optimisation in harvest robots

Ruud Barth*, Jochen Hemming, Eldert J. Van Henten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


For many robotic harvesting applications, position and angle between plant parts is required to optimally position the end-effector before attempting to approach, grasp and cut the product. A method for estimating the angle between plant parts, e.g. stem and fruit, is presented to support the optimisation of grasp pose for harvest robots. The hypothesis is that from colour images, this angle in the horizontal plane can be accurately derived under unmodified greenhouse conditions. It was hypothesised that the location of a fruit and stem could be inferred in the image plane from sparse semantic segmentations. The paper focussed on 4 sub-tasks for a sweet-pepper harvesting robot. Each task was evaluated under 3 conditions: laboratory, simplified greenhouse and unmodified greenhouse. The requirements for each task were based on the end-effector design that required a 25° positioning accuracy. In Task I, colour image segmentation for classes back-ground, fruit and stem plus wire was performed, meeting the requirement of an intersection-over-union > 0.58. In Task II, the stem pose was estimated from the segmentations. In Task III, centres of the fruit and stem were estimated from the output of previous tasks. Both centre estimations In Tasks II and III met the requirement of 25 pixel accuracy on average. In Task IV, the centres were used to estimate the angle between the fruit and stem, meeting the accuracy requirement of 25° for 73% of the cases. The work impacted on the harvest performance by increasing its success rate from 14% theoretically to 52% in practice under unmodified conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-46
Number of pages21
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Agriculture
  • Angle estimation
  • Computer vision
  • Robotics
  • Semantic segmentation


Dive into the research topics of 'Angle estimation between plant parts for grasp optimisation in harvest robots'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this