AUTOPIC - The use of robotic technology for soft fruit picking


AUTOPIC is a multi disciplinary project aimed at mechanising the harvesting of soft fruit through the use of autonomous vehicles and robotics. Partners include Harper Adams University, the Shadow Robot Company, Interface Devices Limited, BerryWorld and the National Physical Laboratory. The project is timely since the source of migrant seasonal fruit pickers is no longer supported by the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme and in general migration is being discouraged by government policy. This has had the net effect of creating a crisis of there not being sufficient workers to pick the soft fruit we take for granted in our supermarkets and potential increased reliance on imports. Further, labour issues are not confined to the UK so that if the project is successful there will be a significant export market for the project output. There are likely to be many benefits from the use of the AUTOPIC autonomous vehicle and its robotics and we believe that the new technology will be transformative for a new UK industry.


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