Announcements

Job offersmore »





Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




Prototype of greenhouse harvesting robot almost able to operate independently

No more clumsy people stomping around in the greenhouse, but a harvesting robot doing all the work. Is that the future of pepper cultivation? In Wageningen a prototype is assembled as we contemplate the question. The robot is equipped with a gripper arm with nine pivot points and a number of 3D camera systems.


Jochen Hemming from WUR

In April 2012 the first prototype was tested in a greenhouse environment. By the fall of 2013, this prototype should be able to independently operate in a nursery, picking peppers. And that's tricky, says researcher Jochen Hemming from the WUR of the Dutch Technology Society in Agriculture. "You’re dealing with a sensitive product in an unstructured environment. The fruits are mostly hidden among the leaves. A robot must be able to distinguish between a green leaf and a green stem to avoid damaging the plant."

The research is progressing, but will the project yield a realistic alternative to manual labour? An earlier contraption, the cucumber harvester, proved unprofitable. "The machine must also be economically viable," admits Hemming. "We have asked growers the hourly rate of their employees and developed our robot according to these numbers." That means that the machine has to reap a pepper every six seconds, day and night. "That’s something we’re trying to achieve right now. But we’re still a long way from marketing this thing. You could say we’re still grabbling with the philosophy of it all: can we really do this, and if so, how?"

About Crops

The Crops Project (Clever Robots for Crops) started in October 2010 and lasts four years. The project involves parties from twelve countries to develop a harvester for high value crops such as peppers, apples and grapes. Currently, a prototype is put together by Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture - but the components are developed throughout Europe. Technicians of Jentjens Machinetechniek in Veghel designed the platform on which the unit can move through the greenhouse. The development of the harvest robot is funded by the EU (CROPS GA No. 246252) and the Product Board for Horticulture (PT No. 14555).

A second, improved prototype is undergoing parallel development.







Watch a video to see the robot in action



Contact:
www.crops-robots.eu
www.glastuinbouw.wur.nl


Publication date: 3/22/2013

 


 

Other news in this sector:

6/19/2017 US (CA): Lettuce-weeding robots, coming soon to a farm near you
6/14/2017 Harvest CROO Robotics make headway towards autonomous strawberry picker
6/6/2017 "Autostix to set a new industry standard"
6/5/2017 "Farmers at low risk of being replaced by computers"
6/2/2017 Lunar robots used in agriculture
5/30/2017 New roof cleaner fits below outside screen installation
5/29/2017 Automation and smart concepts a necessity for the food and flowers of the future
5/25/2017 Complete packing line for snack bell peppers for German grower
5/24/2017 US (AZ): Abby Lee Farms featured on Cronkite News
5/19/2017 Chinese company showcases mechanical harvesting robot
5/19/2017 Italy: Marconi improves soil blocks with new Flier machine
5/12/2017 Chinese propagator takes advantage of new outdoor spray booms
5/11/2017 LettuceBot wants to kill the plants farmers hate
4/24/2017 Georgia Tech builds 'high wire' robot to scout crops
4/14/2017 For sale: 10 brand new Cummins natural gas generators
4/6/2017 First trials with pepper harvesting robot in Belgian greenhouse
3/30/2017 Germany: New semi-automatic steaming machine in operation
3/30/2017 "30% of UK jobs at risk of being replaced by robots"
3/28/2017 'Mission to MARS' for Australian vegetable industry
3/27/2017 "Technology will enable horticulture growth"