A Big Year Ahead for Farm Robots?
Will 2023 be the year that we see more robots on the farm? Ripe Robotics CEO Hunter Jay says there are a few factors that are making it attainable for robotics companies to commercialize on the farm.
Jay… “The AI is much easier now than it was in the past. It was actually just impossible more than 10 years ago. The demand has gone up because the price of labor has gone up, which means the benchmark the machine has to hit is lower than what it was in the past. Orchards have gotten easier to pick from. They're growing fruit on nice flat 2D trellis, which makes it a much easier task for the machine. We 3D print stuff, we order stuff online, which you know, is easier and easier to get parts like that. We've got internet access to the machine. There's a lot of outside things which have nothing to do with what we're doing differently to projects in the past, but which just makes it much easier today to actually solve this.”
Jay says with advancements in artificial intelligence it’s the hardware that provides the most challenges.
Jay… “The really hard thing is, especially the hardware that gets the fruit off the tree without damaging it has been pretty tricky. And that's taken a lot of iterations to get something which even works as well as it does, which isn't yet, at the commercial level, but hopefully will be within the six months.”
Jay and his team are trialing their robotic apple pickers in Australian orchards this season.