The American company Tevel Aerobotics Techonolgies announces its solution for farmers who own apple orchards. This “apple drone” promises to analyze fruits in real time and pick them without damaging them. The solution of automating fruit picking is becoming more and more necessary, as the seasonal labor force in agriculture is becoming smaller, while costs could decrease with the adoption of this technology.
Tevel Aerobotics proposes “apple drone” for picking fruit from the tree
The presentation of Tevel Aerobotics mentions that there are fewer and fewer young people who want to work in the field of agriculture, and the fruit picking is seasonal, which leads to difficulties in finding employees for farmers who own large orchards. Thus, an automated solution could be the answer to this problem for the future of the field.
Tevel produces a wheeled machine that can operate completely autonomously to pick apples directly from the tree without the assistance of a human operator. Each drone is connected to the main station with a cable, which provides continuous power, while an arm that seems to use suction cups can pick the fruit that falls for picking. Each drone includes sensors and cameras to navigate between the station and the fruit.
Once harvested, the apples are then returned to the main platform, which contains QR codes, with the help of which the drones can be positioned correctly. A harvesting machine seems to be equipped with four drones, which can operate non-stop and can be monitored via the internet and GPS permanently, remotely. Basically, as long as the main station has enough energy to power the drones, they will not stop picking.
Tevel’s plan is to rent these machines seasonally to farms interested in using them, providing the complete solution for drone picking and monitoring. This service is not yet available, but it will probably be in the near future and will certainly lead to a change in agriculture. Several pilot programs are already underway in Spain, Italy and the USA, on farms with over 100 hectares.