Raspberry picking ROBOTS can replace migrating farm workers because British harvests are threatened by decreasing numbers of seasonal workers from Europe
- Fieldwork Robotics has built the six-meter high robot to pick raspberries
- He hoped that in the future it could soon absorb 25,000 fruits per day
- It will prevent a fall in seasonal migrating farm workers from Europe
- It is hoped that it can be adapted to pick a wider range of crops than just raspberries
Spending hours waving away under the beating sun to harvest berries and fruit may soon be a thing of the past because robots seem to be replacing people in the field.
A £ 700,000 machine built by the University of Plymouth has managed to pick a raspberry from a plant and carefully place it in a container.
The difficult process took a whole minute to get one berry, because it is a combination of soft robotics, smart AI and & # 39; deep learning & # 39; necessary.
It stands approximately six feet long (1.8 meters) and will combat a continuing decline in the number of migrating farm workers available for the heavy harvests.
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A £ 700,000 machine built by the University of Plymouth and spin-off firm Fieldwork Robotics has managed to pick a raspberry from a plant and place it carefully in a container (photo)
Fieldwork Robotics, a spin-off from the university dedicated to agricultural robots, built the machine and says that in the future it can pick 25,000 fruit a day.
This makes it more efficient than human employees who, according to the company, manage around 15,000 in an eight-hour shift.
Due to the uncertainty of the Brexit, the number of migrant workers has fallen sharply, making it difficult for farmers to get their produce.
The technology is also hoped to be adapted to more crops in the future, with the company also developing robots to pick cauliflower, for example (pictured)
Farmers in Cornwall who last year tested a machine that picks cauliflowers (photos & # 39; s) from the field without crushing them. It works in the same way as the human hand by pressing each cauliflower before deciding whether it is ready to be harvested
Seasonal workers are often flooded to the UK to work on farms, but the fast-growing economies in countries such as Romania and Poland saw a supply chain of staff cut off in the midst of ongoing Brexit uncertainty in the UK.
It is made in collaboration with Hall Hunter, a company that grows many British berries and supplies supermarkets such as M & S, Tesco and Waitrose.
Martin Stoelen, a robotics teacher at Plymouth, spoke at a recent agricultural conference and said: “We looked at human muscles such as biceps and triceps, and the way people can flex and stiffen those muscles depending on the situation.
& # 39; We also have & # 39; deep learning & # 39; used to build a large database of raspberries that will make it easier for the robot to classify and sort them. & # 39;
The technology also hopes to be geared to more crops in the future, with the company also developing robots to pick cauliflower, for example.
WHEN WILL ROBOT BUILDERS BE A REALITY?
Leading agronomists are working on the development of robots to increase the efficiency of plant harvesting.
Harper Adams University in Shropshire is developing a robot that does not harvest crops until they are perfect, and invokes wonky and inedible vegetables.
Farmers are currently harvesting fields at once, in a practice known as slaughter harvest.
But this method leads to 60 percent of the crop that is wasted, because it is either wonky or inedible.
Engineers work on machines that can autonomously plant seeds, weeds, water and spray without a farmer.
The robots can also be programmed to select only crops where they are perfectly ripe.
Autonomous sweeper developer, Professor Simon Blackmore, said: & I am trying to develop a completely new agricultural mechanization system based on small smart machines.
& # 39; We develop laser weed, drop application where only 100 percent of the chemicals end up on the target leaf, selective harvesting, where we can sort the product at the time of harvesting. & # 39;
Cornish farmers who tested a machine last year that picks cauliflowers from the field without crushing them.
It works in the same way as the human hand by pressing each cauliflower before deciding whether it is ready to be harvested.
The GummiArm robot was also the work of Dr. Martin Stoelen.
"Many producers are very concerned about where they get their reasonably priced manual labor – and rightly so – & # 39;" Chairs at the time.
& # 39; Manual harvesting also represents a large part of their total costs, often up to 50 percent, so looking to tackle that, especially against a Brexit background, is very important. & # 39;
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