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Bob Larson Robotic Apple Pickers Pt 1
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: July 03, 2017

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. As the old saying goes, the only thing that is constant is change. That holds true, even in Washington orchards where Robotic Pickers are on their way to replacing the human pickers.

Abundant Robotics CEO Dan Steere says his company’s robotic picker is well into its development …

DAN STEERE-1 = 13 … “We’ve been working on engineering a harvester for over four years now that can pick fruit with basically no more than the same damage level that people wind up with when they’re picking fruit.”

Steere says you can find his people in some orchard, somewhere in Washington, testing these Robotic Pickers throughout harvest season…

DAN STEERE-3 = 27 … “The results we’ve seen have been very encouraging. So, we’ve shown that we can drive into an orchard row, we can identify fruit, we can pick it at damage levels that are comparable to people, and then make sure that we handle it the right way into a bin. So, we think we’ve demonstrated in the field all the capabilities we need to build a successful commercial harvester. And that’s what we’re doing now. We’re designing and preparing that commercial system to come to market.”

I asked Steere if there is a timeline in place to get the Abundant pickers on the market and working anytime soon?

DAN STEERE-4 = 9 … “Yeah, it’s, we do. So, it’s too early for us to make this a firm commitment, but our goal is to have a commercial system working in Washington next year.”

The robotic picker uses a vacuum system to suck the apples from the tree.

Listen tomorrow for more on the operation and expectations of the Robotic Pickers.

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