According to a report from The Guardian, Fieldwork Robotics, a spin-off company from the University of Plymouth, has successfully designed and launched a raspberry picking robot. In fact, two prototypes of this robot have already been harvesting berries 24 hours a day in poly-tunnels in a field near Odemira in southwestern Portugal.
The development of the harvester robots has cost £2 million. The robots are 1.8 meters high, and each is equipped with four 3D printed plastic arms that collect raspberries simultaneously.
According to the information provided, the robots now collect 1 kilo of fruit per hour, and expectations are they will collect 4 kilos per hour. The goal is for the machine to pick 25,000 raspberries/day, i.e., 10,000 more than a person harvests.
Fieldwork has leased the robots to Summer Berry Company, a leading supplier of British supermarkets, including M&S, Ocado, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose, and it expects to have 40 robots next year on its 130-hectare farm near Odemira, according to the British media.