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Advanced Core Processing: Robot Technology Appealing for Apple Growers


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The robotic apple harvester.

New autonomous robotic technology developed by Monash University researchers has the potential to become the apple of my eye for Australias food industry as it deals with labor shortages and an increased demand for fresh produce.

Credit: Monash University

Researchers at Australia's Monash University have developed autonomous robotic technology capable of harvesting apples.

At full capacity, the robot can identify, pick, and deposit an apple in as little as seven seconds, with a median rate of 12.6 seconds per apple.

Trials showed the robot could harvest over 85% of reachable apples within a canopy as identified by its vision system, with less than 6% of the harvest damaged by stem removal.

Monash's Chao Chen said the vision system uses deep learning to identify apples within its range, and to identify and categorize obstacles like branches.

Said Chen, "We also implemented a 'path-planning' algorithm that was able to generate collision-free trajectories for more than 95% of all reachable apples in the canopy."

From Monash University (Australia)
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