Floating Robotics is developing a tomato harvesting robot. The Swiss grower Meiergemüse was allowed to test the first prototype last year. Last week, another grower, Beerstecher, started a test.
The tomato grower will test the robot in three areas: harvesting, crating, and some logistics. The robot developer states that their solution has a three times faster picking speed and two times higher success rate.
Bianca Curcio, greenhouse manager at Beerstecher, said before the start of the test in an article published by ETH Zurich earlier this year: "We were introduced to Floating Robotics last year and were impressed to see how well the robot can pick and carry out defoliation. We are confident that the pilot will demonstrate how an automated robot can best be integrated into an existing operation. This test will also highlight under what conditions it can be a useful tool for growers to ensure top-tier produce all year round."
Floating Robotics is working to optimize the harvesting feature in 2023. In 2024, they plan on adding row changing and working at night. By 2025, clipping stems to the wire must also be done by the robot, just like harvesting cucumbers, the company says. That year, they also wanted to enter the European and North American markets. The robot builders are currently looking for investors.