Feb 2015 | The rise of the apple picking robot, by David Kroman
Three out of five apples in the United States come from Washington. That’s 10-12 billion apples if you’re doing the math – enough to wrap around the earth 29 times. The $2.25 billion earned in 2012 was nearly double the revenue of wheat, the state’s second most lucrative crop. The 100 million crates totaled 4 billion pounds of Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady and Cameo. The amazing thing is that every apple in Washington, in fact every apple worldwide, is hand-picked. Researchers at Washington State University are working to change that.
Feb 2015 | The State Of Mechanical Apple Harvesting, by Richard Jones
The era of fully automated robotic harvesters navigating orchard rows is still years away. But as we head into the 2015 season, there have been some really impressive developments in orchard mechanization, some of which are available to growers this season.
Washington State University assistant professor Manoj Karkee is part of another team working on robotics, but with a bit of human-machine collaboration.
“We’re working on techniques where people can help the robotics a little to make the technology more adaptable and affordable,” Kankee says.