The National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and other bodies have jointly developed the prototype of a robot that automatically harvests apples, pears, and other fruits. This robot is capable of identifying fruits using technology based on deep learning. In the case of Japanese pears, the robot can determine the ripeness of the fruit based on the color and recognize the ones that are ready to eat.
Robots are beginning to take the place of people working in supermarkets and convenience stores. However, there is a limit to their widespread use due to the high cost of custom-made robots. Amidst these barriers to entry, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) took the lead in launching an initiative to develop a standardized specification for robots by companies including the Aeon Group, the Japanese largest retail group, and the three major convenience stores.