RASPBERRY PICKING ROBOT

A new robot could help farmers pick up to 25,000 raspberries a day, according to Manufacturers Fieldwork Robotics. The robot was developed by Dr Martin Stoelen, a lecturer in robotics at Plymouth University in the UK and utilises machine learning in conjunction with cameras and sensors to detect “supermarket ripe” raspberries. The technology involved in producing the robot costs in excess of US$900,000 to develop. Currently, the robot has only one arm which, once it has detected a ripe raspberry, uses grippers to pick the fruit and deposit it into a basket. The final product will have up to four such ‘arms’, each picking one raspberry every 10 seconds for up to 20 hours at a time. The robot was recently trialled for the first time at a West Sussex farm owned by UK soft fruit-grower Hall Hunter, an industry partner with Fieldworks Robotics.