Tweaks needed for robotic harvesting of apples

Set aside the hype of news releases. Commercial apple harvesting with robotics is not quite here, according to Good Fruit Grower.

 

On-the-ground reporting in Washington State reveals that two companies are still working hard on both hardware and software.

 

Israeli-based FFRobotics uses a computer-guided machine with three-fingered grippers to methodically twist the apples and deposit them on conveyors that lead to a stem-cutting table and then a bin.  

 

California-based Abundant Robotics uses a vacuum tube to gently suck the fruit from the tree. Its technology governing perception and manipulation is improving rapidly. It was used in 2019 in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. However, in Washington State, the custom automatic hardware was breaking down too often in fall 2019 trials due to the rigours of non-stop harvest.

 

While the architecture of high-density apple systems makes robotic harvesting more doable, industry observers say that growers will need to adjust canopy and crop load management so that the robots can “see” the apples amongst the branches.   

 

For a glimpse of both systems, go to “Robotics arms race” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PtqZA2enkQ

Source: Good Fruit Grower December 2, 2019 

If latest news: 
Check if it is latest news (for "Latest News" page)
Publish date: 
Monday, January 6, 2020

Click to leave a comment

CAPTCHA
For security purposes, please confirm you are not a robot!

RELATED NEWS

United Fresh launches LIVE!

A fresh produce virtual platform will replace the in-person event slated for mid-June in San Diego. United Fresh LIVE! Will debut the week of June 15, 2020. 

Global virtual town hall

The Produce Marketing Association, based in Newark, Delaware, convened members from 21 countries to discuss the industry’s response to COVID-19. The virtual town hall revealed that bananas, potatoes, carrots and onions are in the highest demand.

U.S. Apple Association: guest workers urgently needed

The U.S. embassy has suspended processing of new H-2A worker applications in Mexico City and its offices across the country. The U.S. Apple Association, one of the founders of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, is asking for a reversal of that position. 

Canada ratifies USMCA

The Canadian Senate gave Royal Assent to the new United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement on March 13, 2020. It was an historic event, overshadowed by the global pandemic of COVID-19. 

Coronavirus not spread through food

The European Food Safety Authority is closely monitoring the global outbreak of coronavirus disease. Ironically, its headquarters are based in Parma, in the north of Italy, part of the lockdown by the Italian government.