Bosch has teamed up with a Plymouth University spinout to help it speed up development of its robot crop-harvesting technology.
Fieldwork Robotics – the brainchild of Plymouth’s Dr Martin Stoelen – will collaborate with Bosch engineers to optimize its soft robotic arms and develop software aimed at reducing production costs and increasing their speed.
The end-goal is to enable the spinout to move into full-scale production and this marks a significant step forward in the commercialisation of the technology.
Fieldwork was initially focused on developing robots to harvest raspberries: Raspberries are more delicate and easily damaged than other soft fruits, and grow on bushes with complex foliage and berry distribution.
It has now started developing proof-of-concept robots for other crops as well – including cauliflowers and tomatoes – following interest from leading multinational agribusinesses.
Fieldwork is using the $390,000 raised in a January funding round, which valued the business at more than $6.5 million, to accelerate development and scale-up of its robotic technology.
The current collaboration is being supported by a $708,302 Innovate UK grant, as part of a $880,000 project to develop the multi-armed robot prototype.
Other partners in the project included the University of Plymouth and UK’s National Physical Laboratory.
Image and content: University of Plymouth