Unlike many fruits and vegetables that can be harvested using harvesters, strawberries have much higher requirements. In state farms and farms, there is a problem with finding seasonal workers who are ready to work in not very favorable conditions. Strawberry picking robots could be the solution.
In Russia and other countries, there is no desire to pick strawberries. The rates for production are low, and the work is very tiring. Thus, seasonal workers in the Krasnodar Territory and the Saratov Region can earn from 35,000 to 45,000 rubles a month. The fact remains that a significant portion of the strawberries will be left to rot in the fields. The problem takes place not only here, but also in the USA and Europe. It is so serious that in many countries startups have been created that are working on the creation of robots – strawberry rescuers and producers. Let’s see what such machines can do and whether they are suitable for work in Russia.
Belgian robot Octinion has a three-finger hand with a soft grip, thanks to which he is able to pick almost intact berries. The structure is mounted on a self-contained trolley. Using a video camera, Octinion recognizes ripe strawberries. At the same time, he is quite smart – he collects one berry in 4 seconds. However, the robot has a drawback – it can only work on special farms where strawberries grow on raised platforms. Thus, for domestic state farms, where berries are mostly grown in the old fashioned way, the brainchild of a Belgian startup is not suitable.
More time – as much as 12 seconds, the British robot needs dogtooth. It is also adapted only to work on special farms, but, unlike the Octinion, it is more maneuverable. There are baskets on the front and back of the machine where the robot puts the strawberries. It is currently being tested on several European farms and may enter mass production by 2020, but it is also not an option for our fields due to the lack of special farms.
Like Octinion, Dogtooth will not pick strawberries from the fields. The most effective alternative appears to be the American Croo Harvest. This machine can replace the work of 30 people. Equipped with lidar, GPS and its own light sources, it can even work at night. Physically, this thing resembles a harvester or a tractor with an analyzer placed above strawberry bushes that evaluates maturity. In addition, the robot analyzes the health of plants and can estimate the yield in just 8 seconds. Croo Harvest requires a lot of space, therefore, unlike previous solutions, it is suitable for field work, therefore, Russian berry producers should take a closer look at it.
We don’t know car prices, but they are likely to be high. However, in the long run, robots will pay for themselves because they do not require wages and can work at night. As long as they don’t break.
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Photo: manufacturing companies