In June 2020, team Automatoes, led by team captain Leonard Baart de la Faille, R&D Lead Engineer at Van der Hoeven, won the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge. In this competition, cherry tomatoes were grown remotely, using data science algorithms (Artificial Intelligence) by five teams and a team of top Dutch growers. Team Automatoes, made up of employees from Hoogendoorn Growth Management, Keygene and Delft University of Technology, produced the most high-quality tomatoes, with low raw material and energy consumption. The team won across all three categories: highest profit (euros), highest sustainability and best artificial intelligence strategy. 'Team Automatoes has built a robust system with very good engineering and a plant focus. The AI strategy that has been developed is scalable and can be applied very effectively across the world,' the jury said.
Participating in and winning this prestigious challenge easily aligns with our vision of enabling large-scale, safe, sustainable, efficient food production in all climates by realising high-quality greenhouses with a high degree of automation. Using data science guarantees a stable, high yield and makes it a scalable solution for very large areas, without depending on the limited availability of highly-qualified growers. We don't just build a greenhouse; we offer a production greenhouse as a service.
In the short term, it offers us the opportunity to unburden our clients by enabling much more in-tensive cultivation assistance, making them even more successful. Pilots with data-driven cultiva-tion control in a production environment are now being carried out for some of our regular clients. This raises production in these greenhouses to a higher level and enables future cultivation in our greenhouses, which will be even more autonomous.