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Robot Will Harvest Your Crops
Design News ^ | 08/10/12 | Elizabeth Montalbano

Posted on 08/10/2012 11:34:47 AM PDT by Red Badger

A multinational engineering project aims to create an intelligent robotics platform that can identify and harvest specific types of crops to help foster sustainable agriculture.

The Clever Robots for Crops (CROPS) project -- a collaboration between universities from a number of countries -- is working on technology for a modular intelligent sensing and manipulation platform to harvest so-called “high value” crops, such as vegetables grown in a greenhouse, greenhouse vegetables, orchard fruits, and grapes used in making premium wines, according to the project’s Website.

The design goals of the project include creating a robotic platform intelligent enough to specifically spray certain types of plants or foliage. The robot also will have the ability to selectively harvest fruit by identifying the right type to pick, determining its ripeness, grasping it, and detaching it without injuring it.

Researchers also aim to extend the use of techniques for detecting and classifying obstacles developed for CROPS to enable successful autonomous navigation and operation in plantations and forests.

CROPS researchers are using a range of technology -- including nanotechnology, materials, and new production technologies -- to create the robot. The project, which began in October 2010, is scheduled to run for four years. It may be some time after that before such a robot would be put into commercial use, even if the project is successful.

Countries with universities contributing research to CROPS include the Belgium, Chile, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden, among others. CROPS is part of the European Union Seventh Framework Program, or FP7.

Robots already are used fairly commonly in the manufacturing field; their use in the agricultural sector so far is rare, but not unheard of.

The CROPS project is not the only organization trying to advance the use of robotics in this sector. A startup in Boston called Harvest Automation also is working to design robots that can work alongside humans in agricultural scenarios. And a Japanese research team has created a robot that can identify and pick strawberries, showing that there is existing technology to achieve at least part of what the CROPS team aims for.

Technology also exists already for some of the robot’s simpler goals, such as picking and grasping the fruit. Cornell University engineers have invented a robot gripper hand, as well as an extension of that technology that can pick up oddly-shaped objects. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA also have active robotics programs that are working on autonomous gripping and manual manipulation technology. And even more sophisticated dexterous technology for robotic wrists also exists.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Technical; US: California
KEYWORDS: agriculture; computer; food; robot

An artist's rendition of how the intelligent robotics platform developed by the Clever Robots for Crops, or CROPS, project will function. The project, a collaboration between universities from a number of countries under the larger FP7 EU program, aims to design a robot that can identify and pick ripe crops, as well as target the correct plants for spraying with liquids. (Source: CROPS)

1 posted on 08/10/2012 11:34:53 AM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

2 posted on 08/10/2012 11:37:29 AM PDT by wastedyears ("God? I didn't know he was signed onto the system.")
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To: wastedyears

no Tom Seleck’s Runaway.


3 posted on 08/10/2012 11:39:29 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Red Badger

But what if the crops are PEOPLE! (stupid red pill).


4 posted on 08/10/2012 11:40:32 AM PDT by DaveInDallas
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To: DaveInDallas

Parts is pieces parts. Protein is protein..............


5 posted on 08/10/2012 11:42:26 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red Badger

Notice that Mexico isn’t involved with this............


6 posted on 08/10/2012 12:02:58 PM PDT by datura (Democrat = Socialist, Progressive Democrat = Communist)
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To: Red Badger

7 posted on 08/10/2012 12:03:18 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Steyn: "One can argue about whose fault it is, but not ... whose responsibility it is: it's his")
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To: Red Badger

So, if zer0 gets re-elected, does this mean we don’t even get jobs working the rice paddies?


8 posted on 08/10/2012 12:05:44 PM PDT by C210N ("ask not what the candidate can do for you, ask what you can do for the candidate" (Breitbart, 2012))
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To: Red Badger
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb57525/masseffect/images/2/25/Legion.png

Unit has an inquiry: Does this Unit have a Soul?

9 posted on 08/10/2012 12:07:39 PM PDT by KC_Lion (Normalcy results in the creation of life, Sodomy results in AIDS)
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To: Red Badger

Put them on welfare and they won’t show up for work.


10 posted on 08/10/2012 12:14:17 PM PDT by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal The 16th Amendment!)
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To: Red Badger

11 posted on 08/10/2012 12:14:17 PM PDT by MarineBrat (Better dead than red!)
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To: Red Badger

This news will surely be taken well by foreign invader workers.


12 posted on 08/10/2012 12:18:16 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

Stopped reading at “sustainable”. = agenda 21


13 posted on 08/10/2012 12:21:10 PM PDT by bicyclerepair ( REPLACE D-W-S ! http://www.karenforcongress.com)
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To: Red Badger

But can it keep my garden weed free?


14 posted on 08/10/2012 12:22:18 PM PDT by bgill
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To: Red Badger

Will they need green cards???


15 posted on 08/10/2012 12:35:39 PM PDT by Uncle Chip
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To: Uncle Chip

No, just circuit cards...........


16 posted on 08/10/2012 12:39:43 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: datura
Notice that Mexico isn’t involved with this............

The threat is developing ...

But the Mexicans' jobs are probably safe for the time being. At present, the machine takes nine seconds to pick a ripe berry, which works out to what? about 15 pounds per hour? It takes a Mexican 15 minutes to pick a "flat" (12 pounds of strawberries). At $1.50 per flat, the Mexican makes $6/hr. Of course, technology is made to be improved. What if the machine only took one second per berry?

I suppose it's not strange that the Japanese would be developing such a machine, given the Pacific is so much wider than the Rio Grande.

17 posted on 08/10/2012 12:51:45 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: NonValueAdded

Ohhh! SILENT RUNNING! Saw it at the theater back in the dark ages. Parts of it was used in one episode of the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (the blowing up of the greenery ships).


18 posted on 08/10/2012 1:40:18 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Tyrannies demand immense sacrifices of their people to produce trifles.-Marquis de Custine)
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To: KC_Lion
If the unit is behind on its tithes, its soul may be disabled.
19 posted on 08/10/2012 1:40:18 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
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To: KC_Lion

If the unit is behind on its tithes, its soul may be disabled.


20 posted on 08/10/2012 1:40:57 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
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To: Red Badger

If this should take hold, Mexico will sue to stop it claiming discrimination of their citizens they push up here for ag jobs.


21 posted on 08/10/2012 1:48:40 PM PDT by AuntB (Illegal immigration is simply more "share the wealth" socialism and a CRIME not a race!)
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To: Red Badger

Very interesting. So when will the Family farm be just a fond memory? The automation costs are going to be ginormous and only the Big Corporate farms will be able to afford these.


22 posted on 08/10/2012 2:39:40 PM PDT by The Working Man
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To: bgill
But can it keep my garden weed free?

We manage 124 weed species on our property at a level unprecedented by any restoration project. I am also familiar with machine vision.

No way.

23 posted on 08/10/2012 10:03:02 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (The Slave Party Switcheroo: Economic crisis! Zero's eligibility Trumped!! Hillary 2012!!!)
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