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Robotic Harvesting of Broccoli Could Be Coming to a Field Near You

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A broccoli harvesting robot.

A team at the University of Lincoln is developing a fully automatic robotic harvesting system for broccoli.


A project involving three-dimensional (3D) camera technology at the University of Lincoln could result in a fully automatic robotic harvesting system for broccoli.

The project is being funded by Agri-Tech Catalyst, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and Innovate U.K., and will test whether 3D camera technology can be used to identify and select when broccoli is ready for harvesting. The research team consists of Tom Duckett and Grzegorz Cielniak from Lincoln's School of Computer Science and Simon Pearson from the university's National Center for Food Manufacturing (NCFM).  Industry partner R. Fountain & Son will be responsible for creating the broccoli-cutting device.  

Another project benefiting from the university's expertise is the early detection and biocontrol of prevalent diseases of mushrooms and potatoes.  This project addresses how diagnostic tools can help identify, prevent, and manage disease and find alternatives to chemical pesticides. "At the heart of the project is a drive to develop robust solutions for bio-monitoring and bio-control, leading to scientific advancement and the marketing of products which will ultimately have significant economic and societal benefit for the U.K. and beyond," says the NCFM's Bukola Daramola.

From University of Lincoln
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