Vision Robotics: Fruit Harvesting End Effector

Michael Boutelle, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Gabriel Greeley, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Katherine Kavett, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Scott McClure, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
William Yarak, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Abstract

Vision Robotics Corporation (VRC) is realizing a solution to the labor shortages that the fresh fruit market faces currently and will continue to face as immigration laws in the United States become more stringent. VRC is developing a two-robot system that will harvest fresh tree fruit. The first robot, the Scout, identifies and locates all fruit on a given tree. The second robot then uses that information to actually harvest fruit. The SCOPE team developed an actual picking device, or end effector, that can function as part of the fresh fruit harvesting robot.

The VRC SCOPE team conducted field testing with a prototype and evaluated its strengths and weaknesses. Based on this evaluation, the team redesigned the mechanism used to remove the fruit from the tree. The team delivered a working prototype to VRC.