Strawberry Picking Future Could Be Robotic

Cindy ZimmermanEquipment, Harvesting, Video

Strawberry harvesting is a one of the most labor-intensive agricultural operations since it generally has to be done by hand to do it right. The berries ripen at different rates and they are very fragile, so mechanization in the field has been very limited.

But, leave it to the Japanese to come up with a robot that might be able to do the job. Last week, the Japanese Agriculture and Food Research Organization debuted a strawberry picking robot that can move along a track in the strawberry, scan the strawberries for ripeness and carefully pluck them off the plants. The robot can reportedly pick a berry every nine seconds, almost twice as fast as human labor. The robot only picks those berries that are at last 80% red colored and can be customized for picking other types of fruits or even vegetables.

Still in the research phase and not ready for the commercial market yet, but you can see a demo here from YouTube.