HNS 203 - Limitations to implementing robotics – Scoping Project


A big challenge facing the horticulture sector is accessing permanent and seasonal labour. Labour can account for up to 70% of production costs for some horticulture businesses. In recent years, shortfalls in seasonal labour have put huge strains on businesses and increased wage costs to attract and retain the best workers. Robotics offers many opportunities for alleviating labour challenges in the horticulture industry.

Although the current generation of robots has made robotic solutions more accessible, the complexity and variety of horticulture production systems presents many challenges for their implementation.

Project code:
HNS 203
01 November 2019 - 31 January 2020
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:
Plymouth University


HNS 203_GS Report_Final_2021 HNS 203_Report_Final_2021

About this project

There are still issues that limit uptake of automation by the ornamentals industry and limit the ability of growers to see how a robotic arm would fit into their production system. The aim of this work is to identify these issues and potential ways to resolve them:

  • Identify and explore issues limiting uptake of automation and robotics by the horticultural industry. While the focus should be on the ornamentals sector, relevant issues from other horticultural production systems would be welcomed
  • Identify potential solutions to these issues, including any relevant case studies
  • Include feedback from growers about they perceive to be the best use for a robotic arm or other robotic solutions on their sites.