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High tech helps with the harvesting of cucumbers

Sounds weird, but that’s the way it is: The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK is currently testing a lightweight dual-arm robot to save cucumber cultivation in Germany.

18 Feb. 2018
David Schahinian
High tech helps with the harvesting of cucumbers (Foto: Fraunhofer IPK)

Scientists from Spain and Germany are currently developing such a solution as part of an EU project to explore the automation potential of cucumber harvesting. A dual-arm robotic system made of lightweight modules will in future not only collect pickling cucumbers but also fulfill other agricultural tasks. Modern control methods, multi-spectral cameras, and intelligent image processing is intended to ensure that the crops are recognized as ripe for harvesting and that they are being picked carefully. The aim is also that the system surpasses skilled cucumber pickers made of flesh and blood. The bar is high at 13 cucumbers per minute. First field trials have already taken place.

Such ancient cultural technology as agriculture and the latest technologies fits together better than you might think at first. In a representative survey by the digital association Bitkom two-thirds of the farmers stated that they have very good to satisfactory digital skills. They also use them, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung : Farmers use technology today, among other things, to calculate rain probabilities or to monitor their animals and fields.