Fruit is far and above the most delicate type of produce out there, which makes the idea of using harvester robots especially practical.
Spain-based company Agrobot has narrowed this idea down to one of the most sensitive fruits out there, the strawberry. With their sweet taste, strawberries stand out as one of the world's most popular fruits.
Around five million metric tons are harvested every year, and this figure continues to rise. The company's SW6010 uses morphological and colour analysis to determine, in real time, how ripe a fruit is, its size, and other factors that will determine whether it gets collected. The robot does this one strawberry at a time, which sounds like it would take forever but happens in seconds, according to Agrobot's site.
The set of robotic manipulators are able to locate and identify your strawberries, selecting them based on their size and degree of ripeness. This system analyzes the fruit one by one, and it is responsible for ordering cutting movements that guarantee accuracy, smoothness and sensitivity in the strawberry treatment. The fruit, picked with the strictest hygiene conditions, is driven by a FlexConveyor System to the packaging area. Select the ripeness you would pick up.
With the Agrobot, everything, apart from the selecting and packing, is done automatically. Robotic arms control the interactions of blades and baskets with the berries. A camera-based vision system analyses each fruit individually, checking form and colour, and then orders the precise cutting movements when a ripe berry is found.
You can see the Agrobot in action, below.