Enhance the Beehive

AI assisted object detection to optimize quality control

Utilizing AI cameras and PLCnext-driven protocols to improve quality control in beehives as well as at the production line

Created on: 08/06/2023

From detecting moving objects to documenting and analyzing their patterns in an automated environment

The idea

The innovative software company Codecentric has found a way to detect and analyze the movements of bees around the hive as part of the global PLCnext Technology Beehyve campaign.

One of the challenges for beekeepers is to stay aware of what the bees are doing during the various phases of their annual cycles of building their hive, collecting food, breeding, and harvesting honey. It is also important to know whether any predators such as the highly aggressive varroa mite is trying to intrude. In order to detect and evaluate the motions surrounding the flight-hole of the hive, Codecentric has developed a smart system utilizing AI cameras and PLCnext Control, which enables beekeepers to keep track of what the bees are up to.

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The solution

An AI-capable camera was put in place facing the flight-hole of a beehive. Codecentric then implemented a machine learning module utilizing a PLCnext Control and created a code to detect bees according to their specific shape and characteristic motion profile. That way intruders can be identified, and the movements of the bees analyzed.

By tracking and evaluating the flight patterns of the bees, beekeepers have a much better understanding of what their stock is currently doing. And thus take the necessary actions to better assist their respective work in progress.

This model monitors the position of each bee as well as a score of how exact the model’s prediction is.
When overlapping all positions of a video feed, we can see clearly, where the bees are staying mostly.

Adaption to industrial world

A system, which detects, evaluates, and analyzes any given object offers plenty of potential for improving production processes. By tracking and checking individual parts of an automated assembly line for example, the quality of each single production step can be easily controlled. Thus, reducing the number of deficient outputs, minimizing errors in the manufacturing line, and ultimately improving the efficiency of the entire workflow. The motion detection system created by Codecentric could also be used for the surveillance and management of large crowds such as at sports stadiums or music concerts to help prevent unwanted dynamics of the people. Another area of usage could be logistics operations, where each item can be easily detected, tracked, and navigated according to its proper destination.

As the examples of where to implement this intelligent setup are manifold, it is another great example of how the PLCnext Technology Beehyve Campaign was a fantastic breeding ground for intelligent solutions for both the world of beekeeping and the world of industrial operations.

Let’s talk about it

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