One of our aims is to translate research into practice. We work with four start-ups centered around precision weed management (DynamoBot), laser-based weeding (Escarda Technologies), automated field inspection (Pheno-Inspect), and underground infrastructure (DeepUp).

DynamoBot (Pre-Foundational Project from University of Bonn, PhenoRob Spin-off)

At the Start-Up DynamoBot, we are building the next generation of precision farming and precision weed management for farmers.  At the core of DynamoBot, we have a technology which is heavily based on robotics, artificial intelligence and advanced computer vision systems. The design of our product is encouraging three different plant-level intervention types, all at the same time: mechanical, chemical and electrical, which are all embedded in a multi-head and multi-axis system. This enables intervening with different plants, with different characteristics, all at the same time without the need for farmers to change the tools or change any other parameters in the system. Farmers could easily attach the tool behind any traktor or deploy it with an autonomous robotics system. The DynamoBot technology opens up new possibilities for a targeted and biodiversity aware weed management in both organic and conventional farming systems.

Check out the company website for more information.

Escarda Technologies GmbH Spinoff (BMBF, EXIST)

Applying herbicides is the main means of weed control. The extensive use of chemical substances in agriculture can generate negative effects on our environment and biodiversity. Additionally, several weed varieties have been developing a natural resistance to the applied chemicals, hence new and more potent herbicides have to be developed, which have a higher toxicity with potentially dire consequences for the environment and organisms that come into contact with it. Escarda Technologies is a BMBF-funded EXIST project that aims at combining modern computer vision technology with lasers to develop a chemical-free weeding alternative for our fields. Escarda received funding in 2018 and has turned into a spin-off from the University of Bonn in 2019 with investment from the Berlin Industrial Group.

Check out the company website for more information.

Pheno-Inspect (EFRE-funded Start-Up, TRANSFER.NRW)

Accelerating and improving breeding towards more efficient crops and varieties is key for increasing yield and improving resilience of plants. For plant breeders, it is important to observe and document phenotypic traits describing the appearance of plants in the field to evaluate the quality and success of the breeding process. With Pheno-Inspect, we aim at offering growers and farmers novel software solutions for automated high-throughput phenotyping in the fields. For sensing, we reply on small and lightweight aerial platforms, which enable a flexible, large-area and time-efficient survey of fields and plot experiments. With our software toolchain, we provide breeders and farmers with a tool to gain precise knowledge of the crop and individual plants. We automatically detect phenotypic traits of crop plants, the species of plants and weeds in the field and derive site- or plot-specific statistics. Our approach relies on state-of-the-art machine learning methods optimized for the agricultural domain to semantically interpret the captured image data and to extract the desired parameters about the plants. The learning procedures developed by us use expert knowledge inserted by the user to adapt efficiently and thus deliver the desired results quickly and effectively with regard to individual problems and local characteristics of the environment.

Check out the company website for more information.

DeepUp (EXIST-funded Start-Up, EXIST Host: Dr. Lasse Klingbeil)

DeepUp – See the Unseen.

Invisible and indispensable. Fiber optics, electricity, gas and water networks are the lifelines of every industrial nation, without which modern life would not be possible. Despite this, they are still treated in the same way today as they were 50 years ago. This leads to massive damage that directly affects not only our national economy, but also each and every one of us. DeepUp is revolutionizing the way we see and understand underground infrastructure – to enable us all to live safely and sustainably in a booming infrastructure world. DeepUp started as an EXIST-funded tech startup at Bonn University. In 2023, DeepUp has made a successful exit.

Check out the company website for more information.