• Duration: 01.09.2021 – 31.08.2024
  • : Land use

Digital twin for fruit growing and forestry


As part of the „For5G“ project, a practical 5G application for cherry cultivation is being developed. The generation and analysis of a „digital twin“ of fruit trees is the core of the project, which is located in Franconian Switzerland and the district of Forchheim. The knowledge gained is to be transferred to other cases of use in the future

For5G in Smart Farming

In the course of „smart farming“, innovative technologies for sustainable agriculture are increasingly being used. This also includes the digitalisation and use of 5G applications, which represent a further step on the path to a profound transformation of traditional agriculture. For farms, the resulting opportunities are considerable: an increase in production, a reduction in costs or an optimised use of resources are to be expected.

Drones provide the data for the „digital twin“

A „digital twin“ is the exact copy of a physical object that allows its simulation, control and improvement. The image material required to create it, is recorded by a drone and transmitted to a computer infrastructure using 5G technology. Since it is not possible to process the data on the drone itself, the transmission technology is an essential part of the project's success. To remedy the poor coverage of the agricultural areas with 5G, the mobile 5G campus network of Fraunhofer IIS is being used. This allows for flexible transport to the respective location and ensures the drone's connectivity.

How For5G works

A sweet cherry makes the start

A sweet cherry plant was selected as the first use case of the project. The creation of a „digital twin“ with a coloured 3D representation that depicts the tree in its entirety, including fruits and state of health, is the first stage of a three-phase process. With it, most use cases can already be covered. Immediately after the creation process, the digital twin is available to the farmer in the local cloud. The data can be checked on site with different objectives, such as disease detection or forecasting yield potential. Possible measures serving a successful cultivation of the tree can be initiated.

Task of the HSWT in the project

The HSWT will contribute its fruit-growing expertise to the project. In concrete terms, this means that first of all, parameters of vegetative (e.g. shoot growth, stem diameter, tree volume) and generative growth (e.g. flowering intensity, fruit set, fruit size development, yield) as well as phytosanitary aspects (diseases, pests, possible abiotic damage) will be recorded using "classical methods" from orchard research. Subsequently, it will be examined to what extent these "analogue" recorded parameters can be described on the basis of the digital twins.

Diverse utilisation of the project results

The competences in the field of 5G and phenotyping (Fraunhofer IIS) as well as robotics and visualisation (FAU) and the expertise in fruit growing (HWST/LK Forchheim) complement each other optimally for a successful implementation of the project. The conceivable applications of the „digital twin“ in the field of agriculture and fruit growing are extremely diverse. The spectrum ranges from assessing the health of individual trees to evaluating vegetative and generative growth parameters (flowering vigour, fruit set, shoot growth, fruit size) to forecasting yield potential. In forestry, entire forest sections could be analysed in this way. The data can thus contribute to early detection of forest fires or early localisation of pests. Forestry is of great ecological and economic importance nationwide. Not only the state of Bavaria with its almost 2.5 million hectares of forest, but also other federal states all the way to the EU could benefit enormously from the introduction of this new 5G technology.

Project participants with the respective work packages


Project lead (HSWT)


Lead of collaborative projects (external)

Project execution

Workpackage lead (external)


Adressierte SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)