DFKI Robotics Innovation Center working on strawberry harvester Shivaa

02-04 | |
Shivaa -  Photo: Annemarie Popp, DFKI GmbH
Shivaa - Photo: Annemarie Popp, DFKI GmbH

The robot Shivaa is being developed for the fully autonomous harvesting of strawberries grown in open field. This cost-effective, small and mobile system is currently being developed in the RoLand (Robotic Systems in Agriculture) project at the Robotics Innovation Center Bremen (RIC), Germany.

Positioned at the edge of a field, the robot uses a 3D camera to autonomously recognize the structure of the field and move to the first row of plants. Once there, different cameras, which also process invisible light, identify the position and the ripeness of the strawberries. Two grippers are used to pick the ripe fruits from the plants under the robot. Like a human being, the fingers of the gripper enclose the strawberry and separate it with a twisting movement. The robot arm and gripper quickly move to the crate above and gently place the strawberry.

Shivaa has been deliberately developed for use in the open field, where an organic end product is achieved by planting the strawberries naturally. There, the robot can also pick alongside humans and thus be seamlessly integrated into a company. Additionally, night operation is possible, where constant artificial lighting creates even more favorable conditions for the robot’s image processing algorithms.

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Rendering of the full system. - Photo: Heiner Peters DFKI GmbH
Rendering of the full system. - Photo: Heiner Peters DFKI GmbH

No human interaction

The aim of the project is to design and develop a semi-autonomous, mobile system that is capable of harvesting fruits without human interaction. While robotic systems are currently mainly used in greenhouses, the target scenario of the proposed project is open field, taking into account the typical environmental influences associated with it. Considering a wide range of applications and a low investment volume, a system should be developed that can also be economically operated by smaller businesses. Adaptability of the work performance to the company-specific demand is then provided by the number of parallel working small units.

Ed Asscheman Online editor Future Farming