Panasonic Corp exhibited a "tomato-harvesting robot" at International Robot Exhibition 2017, which took place from Nov 29 to Dec 2 at Tokyo Big Sight.
The robot automatically harvests tomatoes while running on a rail installed at a farm. Using a camera, range image sensor and AI (artificial intelligence), it determines the position, color and shape of tomatoes and harvests only edible tomatoes by using a special end effector as if hooking them up.
The target takt time is 10 tomatoes per minute. The robot can continuously operate and harvest tomatoes as fast as a human worker, Panasonic said.
Panasonic has been developing a similar robot for some time. But, this time, it improved yield rate (the ratio of harvested red tomatoes to all the red tomatoes) and harvesting speed by employing the AI and increasing the speed of the robot's arm.