Although the automation of the fresh produce sector is in an advanced stage, fruit is still being picked by hand. An Israeli start-up now wants to dispense with labour intensive harvesting by utilising small drones.
The people from Tevel Aerobotics Technologies feel confident that harvesting can be done more efficiently with drones, and that’s a good thing, because fewer and fewer people want to work in the fresh produce sector. Founder and manager Yaniv Maor says: “The gap between the growing need for food and the decreasing number of people working in agriculture is increasing all the time, particularly when it comes to fruit pickers. Quite a bit of fruit is just left on the trees because there’s no one to pick it.”
The drone developed by Tevel Aerobotics Technologies has a grab that picks the fruit and carefully places it in a basket on the ground. Maor says the robot picks the fruit without damaging it, although that isn’t true for all fruit. He warns: “Soft fruit like strawberries cannot be picked by this drone yet.”
The drone flies completely automatically through the orchard and can recognise different varieties of fruit and their ripeness. The vision of the Israeli inventor is that people will only be necessary for assessing the quality before the product is shipped.
Source: Israel Today