The PhénoMobile® system is a self-guided robot that measures the state of plants with a one centimeter resolution using different sensors. The PhénoMobile® system makes possible a reliable, rapid and repeatable characterization of the growth dynamics of many microplots.

Technical description

The originality of the PhénoMobile® is its guidance system: it allows to drive manually but also to define a route with specific trajectories and other actions that follow a predefined scenario for a fully autonomous operation, with a positioning precision to the nearest centimeter.

The PhénoMobile® is a very practical tool, with a length of 2.35 meters and a wheelbase of 1.75 meters (adjustable to +/- 25 cm). It can be used on crops up to 1.3 m in height.

Since it started operating in 2015, the PhénoMobile® has been used on the ARVALIS platform in Gréoux-les-Bains, in the Alpes de Haute-Provence (Southern France), a site affected by climate change. Thanks to this phenotyping tool and to the very fine characterization of the soil water holding capacity of microparcels in experiment, it is possible to measure the tolerance of straw cereal varieties to water and heat stress. More than 200 varieties (soft wheat and durum wheat) are evaluated each year on microplots, with or without irrigation.


With its RGB cameras, spectroradiometer and LIDARs, the PhénoMobile® provides information such as soil cover fraction, green fraction, vegetation index (NDVI, MTCI, MCARI2, etc.), height and leaf angle of the plant. As they are measured without damage to the crop, all these variables can therefore be acquired with a temporal evolution.

See the PhénoMobile® video  (french version)

Main characteristics of PhénoMobile® (small crop)


Mobile on 1 location per year,
2016-2019 in Gréoux les Bains (South East of France)


AAll thematics (abiotic and biotics stress),all crops

Principle of operation

Automatic straddle robot

Microplot size

> 2 m long
1.5 to 2 m wide

Number of plots

1500 micro plots max
500 micro plots /day


Automated movement once the measurement scenario is launched
Number of passages limited by the lift of the ground

On board sensors

RGB cameras, multispectral camera, laser light reflection (LIDAR),
Spectroradiometer active measure with flash

Treatment platform

Signal processing platform developed and maintained by the UMT CAPTE (Avignon)

Scientific references

• De Solan B., Baret F., Thomas S., Weiss M., Beauchêne K., Comar A., Fournier A., 2015 : Development and use of a fully automated Phénomobile® for field phenotyping. EPPN symposium. Barcelona (Spain) November 11th & 12th.
• Madec S., Baret F., De Solan B., Thomas S., Dutartre D., Jezequel S., Hemmerlé M., Colombeau G., Comar A., 2017 : High-Throughput Phenotyping of Plant Height : Comparing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Ground LiDAR Estimates. Frontiers in Plant Science 8, 1-13.


Samuel THOMAS, Benoît DE SOLAN, Sensor experts
ARVALIS-UMT CAPTE, 228 Route de l’aérodrome, 84914 Avignon, France

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