The company «Root AI» presented a tomato picker robot. In the article «The robot apple picker is tested in New Zealand» you can read more about the vacuum machine for picking apples. There are limitations in its construction: the fruits must be round and of a certain size. In addition, tomatoes are much more vulnerable to mechanical stress than apples.
Robot «Virgo» from the company «Root AI» was originally adapted to work with tomatoes. It does not matter the shape - round and oval fruits both types will be collected carefully. Initially, the task was to remove already ripe fruits from the branches in such a way as not to damage the neighboring fruits and the branch itself. And, thanks to the efforts of the development team, the robot is already coping with this.
As can be seen in the photo, a plastic manipulator is used to grip and remove the fetus, which after grip rotates around the longitudinal axis. This is what allows «Virgo» to tear off each fruit without damaging the branch. The possibility of disinfection of manipulators is provided so that the collected fruits are as clean as possible.
Developers plan that this robot will be a universal platform with which it will be possible to collect various fruits and vegetables. In the near future, the modernization of «Virgo» must make possible to harvest cucumbers, strawberries and peppers.