Increase Efficiency and Worker Safety in Caneberry Fields with Robotics
All growers recognize that caneberries are literal ‘fruits of labor’ that demand a very hands-on harvesting approach. From picking and packing to physically walking each box to a drop-off point for transportation, there’s no shortage of manual labor involved. Although caneberries are planted in rows to ensure efficiency in all aspects of growing, the required walk time down each row means growers pay for a significant amount of non-productive walk time with each pick. Fortunately, such manual and repetitive labor lends itself to automation.
Enter Burro: a versatile, collaborative and multi-use mobile robot designed to mitigate both the physical and financial cost of labor and improve operational productivity in the agricultural industry. By replacing a picker’s walk time with Burro’s autonomous mobility, growers can reduce their harvest cost, increase picker/packer daily production, and improve berry shelf life by getting fruit out of the field and into cold storage more quickly.
How Burro navigates caneberries
With two pickers assigned to each row (one picker per side), the normal process involves each picker walking his fruit to the row end for final packing, then a walk to drop off the packed box. Sometimes pickers push a cart into the row and pack in the field as they pick. In either case, both methods require the picker to pause production as they walk fruit from the field to a centrally designated drop-off point.
To save this walk time and ensure picker productivity, Burros are trained along the avenue (or headlands) to a row or set of rows. Once at the row, Burro autonomously travels the row, meeting the picker where he is for loading. Once loaded, Burro either returns to the designated drop-off point, continues down the same row to another picker or advances to other rows before returning to the drop-off point. With a 500-lb. carrying capacity, Burro can easily support multiple rows, representative of six to ten pickers. This drastically reduces worker walk time in the rows and avenues (or headlands), as well as reduces wait times at drop-off points and during loading activities.
Powered by AI and outfitted with computer vision, Burro supports field workers in a way that improves productivity and reduces injury risks for the crew already in the field, all while speeding up the picking process.
Burro boasts a battery life of eight to ten hours (or eight to ten miles traversed), meaning the robots can work all day alongside people before requiring a charge. Additionally, one can extend the daily operation by installing a permanent charging station whereby Burro can find its way back to re-charge as needed – effectively enabling continuous Burro operation.
With caneberries in mind, Burro is also available in a narrower 27-inch-wide configuration (vs. the standard 34-inch wide platform) that you can request now using this form.
Added features and functionality
Burro also offers a route planning tool called Atlas to conveniently layout autonomous missions for Burro. When Burro’s Atlas route mapping is used, operators can develop and manage Burro’s routes from remote locations, such as an office. Those autonomous routes can be stored and shared across fleets of robots, making daily deployment easy.
Burros can also serve additional use-cases by adding third party technology. Burro provides autonomous mobility while carrying partner technologies to perform tasks like scouting for fruit counts/yield estimation (See Burro + Green Atlas & Soil Optix), artificially pollinating plants (See Burro + BloomX), or attaching to our attach pack with ePTO for mowing grass.
Add force multiplication to your workforce
Burro is an invaluable addition to a caneberry grower’s workforce. Learning how to use Burro is simple and intuitive, as the company provides training and easy-to-understand “how-to” videos. To learn more about how Burro supports caneberry fields, click here.
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