Chapter 56 — Robotics in Agriculture and Forestry

A robot for harvesting sweet peppers in greenhouses

This video shows robotic harvesting of sweet-pepper fruits in a commercial Dutch greenhouse in June 2014. The base of the robot consists of two carrier modules. On the first are located the manipulator (nine degrees-of-freedom), specifically developed for this project, the control electronics and the computers. On the sensor carrier module, two 5 megapixel color cameras (comprising a small baseline stereo setup) and a time-of-flight (TOF) camera are installed. Around the sensors, a light grid is placed to illuminate the scene. The sensor system is mounted on a linear motorized slide and can be horizontally moved in and out of the workspace of the manipulator. Machine-vision software localizes ripe fruits and obstacles in 3D. Two different types of end-effectors were designed and tested. The fin-ray gripper features a combined grip and cut mechanism. This end-effector first grips the fruit and after that the peduncle of the fruit is cut. The lip-type end-effector first stabilizes the fruit using a suction cup after which two rings enclose the fruit and cut the peduncle of the fruit. Both end-effectors have a miniature RGB and a TOF camera for refining the fruit position and to determine the fruit pose. This robot demonstrator is one of the results of the EU project CROPS, Clever Robots for Crops (
Jochen Hemming, Wouter Bac, Bart van Tuijl, Ruud Barth, Eldert van Henten, Jan Bontsema, Erik Pekkeriet