Tevel Aerobotics Technologies, an Israeli startup, has developed the world’s only flying autonomous robots (FARs) that pick fruit. In the past, other robot solutions for fruit picking have already been developed, but they are big ground-based machines that aren’t as agile, efficient or cost-effective.
Tevel can deploy dozens of its FARs across an entire orchard – either four or eight tethered to a mobile platform – during the small time window when a crop is ready to harvest.
Yaniv Maor, the company’s founder and CEO: “Finding fruit pickers is every farmer’s biggest concern. Ask any farmer, anywhere in the world and they’ll tell you they don’t have the people. Food consumption is increasing, but labor availability is decreasing. There is a gap and that gap is growing.”
Tevel’s robots hover next to the trees, pluck an apple, peach or nectarine and carefully deposit them in a collection bin. The machines are tethered to a platform so they never run out of power. They can work day and night without a break, they don’t need food, housing or visas, they don’t stop for a coffee and they don’t mind the baking heat.
Even better, they are fitted with cameras that assess the exact size and color of each piece of fruit and only pick what’s perfectly ripe. They also provide the farmer with invaluable data – real-time updates on harvesting progress, time to completion, quantity picked and cost.
Photo source: Tevel Aerobotics Technologies