Humans have to work a lot in extreme weather conditions, on cucumber farms in India and Eastern Europe. To save costs, time, and manpower, Fraunhofer collaborated with German and Spanish researchers to complete a cucumber harvest project with field experiments, called CATCH for short. The goal of this project is to create a robot that can handle cucumber harvesting as well as other similar agricultural work.
The CATCH team is developing a two-hand robot system made from lightweight, cheap modules which is designed to ensure reliable and efficient goals. Ideally, the robot could identify cucumbers that could be harvested and use clamping arms, with 5 levels of freedom to pick cucumbers and keep them with minimal damage. Robots must do all these tasks while ensuring that the The speed of picking cucumbers exceeds the level of 13 fruits per minute of a human.
The CATCH project is developing three hand grip models for the robot, the first using vacuum technology, the second with bionic jaws and a third hand grip specifically designed for holding cucumbers. The dual arm system will use software developed for industrial robots – Workbot I, but will be modified to make it more flexible in harvesting cucumbers.
Dr Dragoljub Surdilovic, a scientist at Fraunhofer IPK, said: “The robot can push leaves to the side with symmetrical or asymmetrical motions, or uniform motions. Therefore, it can automatically change the direction to approach and then pick a cucumber. ”
The robot will use optical and tactile sensors, including polygon cameras which are connected to an intelligent image processing system to identify cucumbers or stems or leaves. According to Fraunhofer, CATCH’s Spanish partner, CSIC-UPM has developed a camera that can detect and identify cucumbers with a 95% success rate. The goal is to let the robot accurately identify the ripe or green cucumber …
According to Fraunhofer, the robotic system was initially tested in July 2017 at the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, which involved the use of different types of cucumbers, both varieties and sizes. harvest robots. With the proven basic functions, the team hopes to create a more advanced, commercial robot in the future.