A pepper-picking robot developed by EU-funded CROPS project, lead by Dr. Bontsema, has become the first in what could be a wave of agricultural robots.

The robot runs on a rail system, has snake like arms with pincers, and uses a stream of snapshots for movement to be able to pick fruits. The robot however was slow and inefficient and Dr. Bontsema is creating another project called SWEEPER to make faster robots ready for commercialization.

‘A robot system will improve food safety and give the opportunity to selectively harvest for higher quality,’ said Dr Jan Bontsema, Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture.

Dr. Bontsema’s team is working to make robots smarter. “We introduced in CROPS the so-called ROS software, robot operating system and we will continue this in SWEEPER,”he said. “With that software you get a kind of plug and play system so if you want to use a different camera, for example, it’s no problem at all.”