Harvesting Fruits of Robotic Labor!
With Tiptree farms, we have embarked on a new and exciting journey to transform soft fruit picking, inspection and packing. The research in general also has implications towards many other areas requiring robots to manipulate objects with dexterity in unstructured changing environments (for example, robotics in extreme environments, space and even homes and hospitals)
The challenge in Berry picking is simply that no two berries are the same! - they come in different shapes, sizes, order of ripeness and many are hidden in the foliage. Also the environment keeps changing constantly - sunny, windy, rainy - in contrast to a typical industrial environment. Hence, dexterous manipulation in unstructured environments is a big challenge for robotics today.
Currently one billion strawberries are picked by hand at Tiptree every year, all by humans who have half a second to check the strawberries for ripeness, disease and size. Imminent labor shortage, significant percentage of fruits being unpicked and the increasing production costs are key drivers for robotization of such tasks..
Field Trials in the Country's First New Vertical Growing system at Tiptree
Nice video clip showing the resutls of autonomous robotic strawberry picking 2023 season covering the Essex 2D/3D vision system, adaptive robotic motion planning for arms and body, learning from failures, speed optimization in autonomous mode, upskilling labour-i.e training farm staff...
After 2020 season was washed out due to the pandemic, we have hit the filed again in 2021, Below is a short trailor of the work we are doing with the Beast in NGS
Below is a Short Clip of BBC World covering our Research on AgriRobotics
Our new agricultural robot 'The Beast' taking shape at the Essex robotics arena.. (July 2019)
Bi-manual Configuration with a range of sensing, manipulation and configurable hardware/software interfaces.
Some recent work on Soft Gripping, Active Perception, Design of the Beast
Use of GAN to detect and analyze complex strawberry clusters at Tiptree for Pick Sequencing (July 2020-)
Robotic Strawberry Picker BBC