Finding fruit pickers is becoming a challenging task. Not only, more and more young people avoid being occupied in the agriculture sector, but also the last year’s travel restrictions rendered fruit picking more challenging for orchard owners. Consequently, many fruits rot on the trees as they cannot be collected on time, and in the mid-long term, farmers lose a significant amount of potential income.
A solution seems to emerge from the domains of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Computer Vision, Aeronautical Engineering, advanced flight control, and data fusion and perception. Tevel Aerobotics Technologies, an Israeli company, has designed and implemented an autonomous flying robot that has the ability to recognise and collect the most matured. It locates the trees by utilizing AI perception algorithms, while vision algorithms make it possible to identify the ripe fruits among the foliage. A stable robotic arm approaches the fruit and carefully grasps it. Moreover, it is an easy task for the robot to classify the fruits depending on their size and the degree of ripeness.
Multiple robots can harvest an orchard without crashing into each other thanks to a single autonomous digital brain in a ground-based unit. Furthermore, one of the most important features is the robots’ ability to work 24 hours a day, providing maximum efficiency at minimum cost. Besides, the whole robot-system has the flexibility to be used in several fruit types, such as apples, pears, and avocados. They can also be exploited for thinning and pruning purposes.
We admit that such a prospect could revolutionize and transform the agriculture sector.