Ag Tech News

Robotic Harvest Will Be Common In Greenhouses Very Soon

The whole horti world is looking with great interest at picking robots. The ever-pressing challenge of labor shortage has never been so widespread, and the horti sector is responding to that in the only way it knows: technology. It is within this context that picking robots are being developed at Senmatic.

"The issue today is that picking, say, tomatoes in a greenhouse is just hard and repetitive work in a quite humid and hot environment," Mads Nychel, CEO of Danish company Senmatic. "This issue got even more pressing during corona when the usual pickers couldn't travel freely across borders."

A joint project
Senmatic has been working with Denmark's largest tomato grower Nordic Greens, to develop a picking robot, founding the company EGAMATIC. "The robot moves on a mobile platform, supplied by Bogaerts, that drives along the water pipes that are already installed in a greenhouse," Mads points out.

But how does it work? "The robot is equipped with AI-powered cameras that firstly identify the tomatoes, and secondly assess how many there are starting from the bottom of the cluster and determine how much red or green they are." And then comes the picking part, which has always been quite difficult for companies to develop a delicate enough robot that picks tomatoes without damaging them. Yet, EGAMATIC has come up with a unique and, of course, patented solution. "The robot grabs the stem of the tomato plant, where the fruits are, and then it moves the claw upwards, following the stem. When done with one plant, the robot goes to the other and repeats."


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