Research team develops autonomous robot to control spotted lanternfly eggs

By |  July 21, 2023 0 Comments
The best way to stop the spotted lanternfly’s spread is to scout for egg masses, which resemble mud splatters (right). Females can lay eggs on almost any surface (center). Expect higher populations around tree of heaven (left). (photos by: Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State Extension)

(Photos: Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State Extension)


Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics institute created an autonomous robot solution to aid in the control of spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect.

TartanPest uses an electric tractor, a robotic arm and computer vision to detect and destroy spotted lanternfly egg masses in fields and forests. Spotted lanternflies lay eggs on trees, rocks, outdoor furniture, rusty surfaces in the fall and are often difficult to recognize. Each egg mass can contain between 30-50 eggs.

“Currently, spotted lanternflies are concentrated in the eastern portion of the nation, but they are predicted to spread to the whole country,” said Carolyn Alex, an undergraduate researcher on the TartanPest team said in a news release. “By investing in this issue now, we will be saving higher costs in the future.”

Researchers mounted a robotic arm to the base of an Amiga microtractor, created by Farm-ng. TartanPest uses a deep learning model on an augmented data set, which uses 700 images of spotted lanternfly egg masses from iNaturalist to help identify and remove the egg masses.

This article is tagged with and posted in Industry News

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