In car production, robots like those from Denso are a familiar sight. In the future, however, they could also be used to grow and harvest tomatoes.
The harvesting robot creates the conditions for growing and harvesting fruits like tomatoes with less human intervention. The robot recognizes the tomatoes, cuts them and places them in transport boxes. Because it uses deep-learning technology, it can gain experience with each use. Moreover, in addition to yields, it also records environmental conditions such as climate, as well as the health of the plants. This allows it to warn of possible virus infections, among other things, and generally help achieve higher yields.
This intelligent and autonomous harvester is the result of a collaboration between robotics manufacturer Denso and greenhouse solutions specialist Certhon. The harvesting robot, which has already been tested in Asia, can be part of an autonomous agricultural system that provides the optimal temperature and climate conditions for crop growth, with robots taking over monitoring, harvesting and packaging. Such systems will also be used in Europe in the future. They have the potential to revolutionize the entire food supply and set new standards in terms of sustainability, reliability and efficiency.
The harvesting robot is based on Denso's robotics and automation solutions, which have been developed for industrial applications such as automotive parts manufacturing. In addition, Denso
temperature control systems from Denso are used here. Their field of application is actually vehicle air conditioning. In this case, however, they are used to control greenhouse temperatures to create conditions in which the plants can grow and the robot can perform its tasks without being affected by weather conditions. The partnership will allow Denso to further develop its technologies along with Certhon's advanced horticultural techniques and cultivation knowledge.
Denso has a long history of production technologies originally developed for manufacturing and the automotive sector that have since spread to other industries. New fields of application range from robotics in planting and harvesting technology to the use of artificial intelligence to better evaluate data, identify correlations and improve yields on this basis. This can be used to increase the efficiency of agricultural production, for example because less land and less water are needed.
Combating the effects of climate change
The effects of climate change also pose a challenge to global food production. With increasingly volatile climatic conditions and continued population growth, there is an urgent need for sustainable solutions that can help feed everyone on Earth. At the same time, increasing demands on food production as a result of increasingly challenging growing conditions must be addressed. One key to solving this central human task can be technologies that prove their worth in industrial automobile production. Here, truly creative solutions are crucial.
As part of the Denso and Certhon collaboration, expertise in robotics, Big Data and process management is coming together to redefine the world of food production. The goal is to create a fully sustainable and highly efficient food supply chain for fresh produce.