4 Labor-Intensive Crops For Robots To Harvest

Automated harvesting technology for crops has been around for a long time but it’s definitely not a smart process. More pulling corn from stalks than identifying and picking tomatoes:

Machines don’t yet exist for these crops because there have been ample people to do the work, and because it’s hard to design machines that can cut or pick the fruit or vegetables without squishing or damaging them too much.

This is interesting in two respects. First, computer vision to identify pickable plants is either available or close to available and dexterous tools are definitely available. Is this a problem of durability or cost or both?

Second, a more automated farm system will definitely upset the balance of farm labor. How does that play out on a national scale? It feels very similar to a transition from human-driven uber / taxis to self-driving cars for similar services.


Tue, Sep 8, 2015