Harvest CROO Robotics, Tampa, Fla., introduced Phase 1 of Alpha Unit, an autonomous vehicle designed to pick strawberries in the field.

Equipped with a GPS navigation system, LIDAR technology and other camera and sensor features, the mobile platform is a modified version of the Colby Harvest Pro Machine and consists of 4-wheel steering, providing a zero-turning radius for greater maneuverability.

The vehicle will carry 16 picking robots through the field and span 6 beds of plants, picking the four middle beds. The dual GPS system enables the vehicle to interpolate the position of the platform precisely over the plants.

Using a proprietary vision system, all ripe berries will be harvested from the plants. The fruit will then be transferred up to the platform level of the machine using a series of conveyers. There, the packing module of the machine performs a secondary inspection and grades the fruit. Depending on quality, it will either be packed into consumer units, diverted to process trays or discarded. The use of this technology will improve the quality of the berries picked, reduce energy usage and increase strawberry yields.

Harvest CROO Robotics