The ‘Cherry on Top’ for Computer Vision

3 minute read

In response to demand, agritech company Hectre, creators of computer vision AI solutions, are now extending their fruit type coverage to cherries.

“We’ve received requests for Spectre for Cherries from both US and NZ customers, plus the wider industry. Growers identified a number of key problems Spectre can solve for them, which we’ve assessed and confirmed that the value proposition is strong, so it makes sense for us to extend Spectre coverage to cherries,” says Hectre CEO Matty Blomfield.

After launching their Orchard Management Software into both the NZ and US markets in 2016 and 2018 respectively, the Hectre app is now being used in eight countries including Australia, Canada, NZ, South Africa, the UK and the US. The introduction of their computer vision AI solution, Spectre, which requires just an iPhone or iPad, solidified the company’s reputation as a continual innovator which has user simplicity at the forefront of product design.



Deep red premium cherries at Sage Fruit, Washington are being photographed to provide data sets for the Spectre for Cherries build.

Cherry growers operate within a premium fruit market and gaining access to early and accurate size data can create significant advantages. Often cherries are on the shelf within 100 hours of being picked, and that timing can include flight freight, so timing is everything and timely data brings big benefits.

“In order to meet our promise of providing the ‘world’s finest cherries’ we need to be at the forefront of innovation, optimizing everything we do. The early size data Spectre will deliver enables us to evaluate the pick and size against KPI’s, make adjustments accordingly on orchard and in the packhouse, but most importantly it’s a tool to provide our company and our customers with valuable advanced information to support sales efforts,” said Cherri Global CEO Phil Alison.

The Hectre R&D team have been working with several cherry leaders, including Sage Fruit in the US and Cherri Global in NZ, to flesh out the various use cases and develop the cherry data sets as they build Spectre for Cherries. “Our team relish the time spent with these industry leaders and are looking forward to bringing them Spectre value. We don’t build solutions because they’re fun to build, we build them because our customers need them and customer input is something we value extremely highly,” notes Blomfield.

The fragility of cherries, where minimal touch is advantageous, also lends itself well to Spectre, where sizing can be undertaken without any traditional human touch sampling. Spectre detects high numbers of fruit from the top layer of fruit bins and buckets from a simple photo taken on an iPhone or iPad, sizes that fruit, and serves up full size estimation graphs within seconds.

Computer Vision Cherries

Quick and accurate Spectre size estimation graphs like this one for apples, will soon be available for the cherry industry, enabling the pick to be assessed from the very first bucket picked.

Upon hearing that Spectre for Cherries is on its way, others in industry have already registered their interest. Adds Blomfield, “The challenging timelines cherry growers and packers work with, makes access to early fruit size data extremely valuable. With the accurate real time data that Spectre can provide, growers and packhouses can assess how well the pick is matching the brief very early during harvest and can adjust the pick immediately to ensure optimal results. And with such a condensed cycle, it also means sales agents can gain earlier information and confidence on what is actually coming off the orchard, enabling them to secure sales opportunities earlier than ever before.”

Cherri Global which grows premium cherries in both Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago in New Zealand, will likely be the first in the global cherry industry to gain access to Spectre for Cherries.

Companies seeking end to end insights are also implementing Hectre’s Orchard Management Software at grower level, as is the case for Cherri Global. The software has been optimized for cherries with specific cherry picking modules included, plus both piece rate and wage options covered.

The Hectre team of 21 are located across New York, Washington, California, Vietnam and New Zealand. All development is carried out in-house, ensuring control of quality is maintained and of clever simplicity is delivered with every solution.

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