Robotic Technologies for High-Throughput Plant Phenotyping: Contemporary Reviews and Future Perspectives

Abbas Atefi, Yufeng Ge, Santosh Pitla, James Schnable

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Phenotyping plants is an essential component of any effort to develop new crop varieties. As plant breeders seek to increase crop productivity and produce more food for the future, the amount of phenotype information they require will also increase. Traditional plant phenotyping relying on manual measurement is laborious, time-consuming, error-prone, and costly. Plant phenotyping robots have emerged as a high-throughput technology to measure morphological, chemical and physiological properties of large number of plants. Several robotic systems have been developed to fulfill different phenotyping missions. In particular, robotic phenotyping has the potential to enable efficient monitoring of changes in plant traits over time in both controlled environments and in the field. The operation of these robots can be challenging as a result of the dynamic nature of plants and the agricultural environments. Here we discuss developments in phenotyping robots, and the challenges which have been overcome and others which remain outstanding. In addition, some perspective applications of the phenotyping robots are also presented. We optimistically anticipate that autonomous and robotic systems will make great leaps forward in the next 10 years to advance the plant phenotyping research into a new era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number611940
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - Jun 25 2021


  • agricultural robotics
  • autonomous robotic technology
  • computer vision
  • high-throughput plant phenotyping
  • phenotyping robot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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