Industry representative: Andy Blair, T H Clements
AHDB Horticulture Cost: £8,900
Total cost of the project: The cost of investment in the project to date is more than £200,000.00 The money requested from AHDB is a small part of the total.
To replace manual operations in horticulture with automated processes that can replace the hand/eye co-ordination of a human operator.
- To demonstrate the integrated use of images from a 3D camera enabling a robotic arm to respond to specified crop dimensions. The vision guidance system will be demonstrated by its ability to detect the size and shape of broccoli heads and control a robot to select heads that fall within specified dimensions.
Benefits to Industry:
The labour cost for manual handling of ornamentals and harvesting of edible crops is a large proportion of total costs in many horticultural businesses. Potential labour shortage or unavailability is a major risk factor for many businesses. Automation of the processes would reduce risk and cost and make businesses more competitive.
The benefits go beyond the saving of labour costs. For example if processes are automated they can take place at night when temperatures are lower, thereby reducing refrigeration costs and improving shelf life and product quality.
The Brassica Growers Association has identified development of an automated harvester as one of their top priorities. By inviting selected growers from all sectors of horticulture to a demonstration the potential of the technology to develop for different uses can be maximised.