Monday, June 25, 2007

Vision Robotics' harvesting machines edge closer to the farm

In just eight short months, the automated harvesting machines at Vision Robotics have apparently come quite a ways. Currently, funding is flowing in from growers' associations who are "very nervous about the availability and cost of labor in the near future," which has allowed the company to move forward in developing a pair of robots to pluck fruit from trees or vines. The duo would work in succession as the first robotic "scout" would scan the area and construct a 3D map with the location of each item that needs captured; the "harvester" would follow behind and pick the fruits that its eagle-eyed teammate mapped out. The firm has reportedly reached the build phase on the complex machines, and while a prototype or two should be ready to rock by next year, we're unlikely to see these go mainstream before the next decade. [Via Wired]