Check out this Techcrunch article on how an olive growing company has made the job simpler by aggressive pruning.
By growing olives in rows, like wine grapes, California Olive Ranch has taken most of the human labor out of the harvest.
The company is also doing a large amount of data collection to drive alterations in how they do watering and fertilization. But what I find most interesting is the decision to heavily prune to enable use of automated grape harvesting equipment. Automation can come sooner if an environment can be shaped to be more regular and consistent. The amount of image processing goes down. Also, there's no need to achieve the level of 3-D control of a human arm if the stuff getting reached for isn't as hard to reach.
Perhaps this can be applied to other things Imagine growing lettuce heads or cabbage on rows of square little stands in order to give harvesting equipment a bracket to orient movement. Or make tomato plants sprout flowers and grow tomatoes in a precise row. If plants can be made to line up precisely in 3 dimensions then the requirements for designing a robot harvester become much simpler.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2014 December 24 10:41 AM|