First ever working sweet-pepper harvesting robot

The world’s first robot harvester for sweet peppers has been developed under a European research  project co-ordinated by Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture

Source: Wageningen UR

The Clever Robots for Crops (CROPS) project for the development of robotics in horticulture and forestry has been co-funded by the European Commission and the Dutch Horticultural Product Board.

The four-year project, involving 13 partners from 10 different countries, has led to a universal robotic platform for producing and harvesting high-value crops. Demonstration robots have been developed for selective harvesting of  apples and grapes as well as sweet peppers, and for precision spraying of pesticides. Sensor systems for obstacle avoidance for forest machines have also been developed. All robots use the same type of modular system and the same software architecture. This makes it easy for example to use a different camera or different type of robotic hand.

Inportant milestone in harvesting

The sweet pepper harvesting robot developed in Wageningen is able to locate, to approach, to hold, to detach and to collect ripe fruits. The picking success rate of and the needed cycle time in practice is so far insufficient for commercial use, but with the first ever working sweet-pepper harvesting robot in a realistic environment an important milestone has been reached. Experiments in a commercial greenhouse have yielded a wealth of data and information.

A new European research project has been awarded to Wageningen UR for further development of the harvester.

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