Chapter 56 — Robotics in Agriculture and Forestry

Autonomous orchard vehicle for specialty-crop production

In the United States, production of specialty crops (fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture) is very labor-intensive. The autonomous orchard vehicle presented in this video can be used year-round to automate tasks such as mowing, spraying, scouting for disease or insects, and estimating crop yield; or to augment humans for pruning, thinning, training trees, placing pheromone dispensers, and harvesting. Studies by the extension teams at The Pennsylvania and Washington State Universities report an increase in efficiency of up to 116% when workers perform operations on the upper part of trees onboard the vehicle, as compared to workers using ladders.
Sanjiv Singh, Marcel Bergerman
Work funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Specialty Crop Research Initiative