April 9, 2006 Robots are on the march again into the last bastion of labour intensive industry - farming and horticulture. Researchers from Warwick HRI (the University of Warwick's horticultural arm), and its manufacturing engineering section, Warwick Manufacturing Group, are working on a suite of robots and automated systems which could transform farming and horticulture over the next decade. One of the best ideas we’ve seen in a long time is this inflatable conveyor belt developed for UK-based agricultural machinery company Aeropick. Due to an ingenious wheeled and inflatable system, up to 100 metres of powered conveyor belt can be deployed within five minutes to aid the agricultural and horticultural harvesting process and offers massive labour cost savings along with significant increases in productivity. As the belt can be set up to variable length of between 25 metres and 100 metres, it is highly adaptable allowing crops to be processed at high speed straight to cool storage, washing, sorting, grading etc Amazingly, there’s also a mushroom picking robot and Robot Grass Cutter too.
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