The agricultural industry is no stranger to automation. Robotics was first introduced into the industry to help guide vehicles in the 1920s, and it’s now common for farmers to use GPS-guided planters, sprayers, and combines, not to mention the wide array of automated machines used elsewhere in the agricultural supply chain.
But there’s one job that has been prohibitively difficult for robots: picking soft fruit. It requires a delicate and dexterous touch, as well as the ability to maneuver around the plants so that the fruit can be accessed from the best angle.
The UK-based startup Dogtooth Technologies is developing robots with just such abilities. What’s more, the robots are able to gently pick berries at night and then deliver them to a chamber where the fruit can be inspected for defects. Freethink explores Dogtooth Technologies and the future of robot farming in this episode of Hard Reset.