In anticipation of the aging population in addition to labor shortages, various companies have been actively developing harvesting robots for tomatoes and strawberries.
The merit of being able to automate the harvesting work that relies on people is enormous.
There are already drugs sprayed by drones and robots that automatically track users and carry heavy objects with caterpillar-type vehicle bodies.
Decrease in farmers
The biggest challenge facing Japanese agriculture is the declining and aging of the agricultural working population.
The agricultural working population, which was 3.353 million in 2005, has decreased to 2.606 million in 2010 and 1.922 million in 2016.
For these reasons, there are concerns about a reduction in agricultural production and a decline in the food self-sufficiency rate.
In order to solve this problem, it is possible to improve the efficiency of production factories and develop highly productive varieties, but there is a “harvesting robot” as one of the means to utilize robots.
Panasonic harvesting robot
From Channel Panasonic: ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOcdBuUur7MiKPdHQUM_8IA )
The harvesting robot moves on the rails laid between the ridges of the tomato seedlings to harvest the fruits.
The harvesting robot is equipped with a camera that can harvest only fully ripe fruits by image recognition.
After the robot decides to “harvest”, the tip of the harvesting arm is brought closer to the fruit.
By accurately passing the targeted tomatoes through the ring and pulling the fruits, they are dropped into the pockets attached below by a harvesting method that can be picked up by human hands.
Panasonic regularly visits farmers who are currently conducting demonstration experiments, exchanging opinions, and aiming to further improve their functions.
What Panasonic values in developing it is “safety” and “human beings can use robot technology to act in their own way.”
Panasonic aims to create a society where everyone can live happier by coexisting humans and robots.
Panasonic official site: https://www.panasonic.com/jp/home.html