After several years of trials and the installation of new mechanics, camera systems and grippers, lead researcher Professor Kerry Walsh says the development of the world's first automatic mango harvester is on the home stretch. As it approaches commercialization in Central Queensland, the apparatus installation is promising to revolutionize the industry.
"If you've got a fruit in reach … now with these new grippers, basically, you will always get it," Walsh said. "But things keep improving … so we're continuing to make it faster and more robust."
Professor Walsh says minimising manual labour is key to industry integration. "Currently in Australia, you break the fruit in the tree, then you throw it onto a harvest aid. Where there were eight people working around the harvest aid, we are adding mechanical arms to the process instead."