Pepper harvesting robot

From the report “New Sweet-pepper harvesting robot Sweeper ready for testing in commercial greenhouse“, of Dr. J. Hemming, published at Wageningen UR, and the documentation at Swepper

The Swepper project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644313, and has entered its second year of research. SWEEPER’s main objective is to put the first generation greenhouse harvesting robots onto the market.

The project involves 6 partners from 4 different countries (The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Israel). The consortium consist out of fundamental and applied research organisations, a system integrator and a modern grower of sweet pepper. In the consortium a wide-range of disciplines are available, including: horticulture, horticultural engineering, machine vision, sensing, robotics, control, intelligent systems, software architecture, system integration and greenhouse crop management.

pebrotgroc

After testing and selection of individual modules, the first model of the robot was integrated by the Dutch company Irmato (Veghel). Currently it is placed at the laboratory of Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture where it is now used for further testing manipulator control and fruit detection software from Umeå University (Sweden) and Ben Gurion University (Israel). The Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt in Sint-Katelijne-Waver in Belgium has selected the most suitable sweet pepper variety for robotic harvesting and started the second season tests to select the best cultivation technique.

Functional tests in the laboratory have to confirm that the robot is able to reliably harvest fruits in an artificial crop. After that the robot will be transferred to a commercial greenhouse (Tuindershoek) at IJsselmuiden the Netherlands for further experiments.