The tech behind incredible Ajax 'smart pitch'
Dutch football giants Ajax are using a cutting-edge system to monitor the health of the turf at the Johan Cruijff Arena.
The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) is considering whether to expand the system, which monitors soil quality and temperature and pitch moisture via 15 underground sensors, to other Eredivisie clubs.
It is already using the system on the training fields of the Dutch national team in Zeist.
The sensors are at three different depths and supplemented by weather stations on the stadium’s roof and pitch which assess whether the turf – 90 per cent natural grass and 10 per cent artificial turf – is getting enough natural light.
As the grass is cut, the surface is scanned by the mower to ascertain the number of blades of grass, measure growth and identify any damaged spots.
All this data is shown on a dashboard which Joep van Cranenbroek can view from his office to see the influences of sun, shade, rain and wind and react accordingly.
The AgroTech, biology data science and smart pitch expert has to manage the state of the pitch – which is relaid every year – around other events including music concerts.