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Autonomous tree fruit harvester may improve labor challenges

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Nanovel Ltd. has unveiled an autonomous tree fruit harvester that combines computer vision, machine learning, and proprietary robotics technologies that could make autonomous tree fruit harvesting more productive, reliable, and cost-effective than hand harvesting.

A beta version of the harvester is expected to launch in 2023 for the citrus market. 

Photos from a demonstration for growers in June 2022 (Image by Nanovel, Ltd.)

Among the projected benefits to growers are:

  •  Deep foliage real-time “Find and Pick” capability is enabled by edge vision and computing.
  • Supports gripping and trimming using proprietary technology suitable for a wide variety of fruit types: citrus, stone fruit, avocado, mango and more.
  • Reliable harvest scheduling.
  • Valuable insights of yield and quality by big data collection and analysis.
  • Cost-competitive compared to traditional manual picking.

»Related: How one robot could reduce the risk for farmers in grain bins

Isaac Mazor, founder and CEO of Nanovel Ltd., is a successful serial entrepreneur in the field of semiconductors, leveraging his experience to solve this complex technological challenge in agriculture.

Image courtesy of Nanovel Ltd

Nanovel has been self-funded and operating in stealth mode since established in 2018. It has been intensively researching and developing its technologies, proving the concept, securing its intellectual property, conducting field testing and customer demonstrations of its robotic harvester. 

“Nanovel is committed to address a serious threat to the future supply of tree fruit. Enhancing grove profitability is a driving motivator behind building our new AI-driven robotic harvester,” Mazor said. “Nanovel’s robot is extremely intelligent, ag-environment durable and cost-effective. Grower input throughout the development process sharpens the Nanovel team’s focus on solving real world problems using our proprietary technology. Our mission is to provide growers a reliable, productive and affordable solution for tree fruit harvesting.”

“Farm labor shortage is one of the main challenges we are facing today,” said Tal Fogelman, a California grower and business development advisor to Nanovel. “Especially around harvest time, farm labor is scarce, challenging to secure. Nanovel’s solution will be serving a multi-billion dollar market that is currently relying on the traditional method of manual picking.”

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