PROSSER — A researcher at Washington State University won a grant to develop a robot that picks apples at four times the rate of humans.
Manoj Karkee, assistant professor with WSU’s Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, envisions a robot that reaches a dozen tentacles through the leaves of an apple tree to pick the fruit. The automated system would work alongside a field employee to determine how and when to pick the apples.
Karkee and his research team recently received a $548,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He believes the prototype will take three to five years to develop, and will be commercially available in 10 years.
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