Sensor Fusion

There is growing recognition that quality is a multifaceted attribute, leading to a need for "sensor fusion" or the combining of several measurements into a quality classification (38,58). The measurements may be from multiple sensors examining different parts of the same fruit but more likely will be from different kinds of sensors that detect different characteristics. Sorting requires high-speed, nondestructive sensing of each piece of fruit or vegetable and a statistical procedure to combine the measurements into a classification decision. Currently, automated sorting is mainly by size, color, and, for some commodities, surface defects. Fruit packinghouses in the United States require sorter speeds of 5 to 12 fruit per second. Statistical combination of measurements will increase the likelihood of predicting overall quality. However, it is important to understand what each sensor measures and to understand the relationship of that characteristic to quality, so the limitations of the sorting method are appreciated.

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