A Cambridgeshire technology business has secured funding from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative to develop a robotic harvesting project in the UK.
Dogtooth Technologies, based in Haslingfield in South Cambridgeshire, has plans to develop the first strawberry harvesting robot designed to replace the hand-picking of strawberries.
The initial phase of the project will involve manufacturing ten harvesting robots and offering them to UK growers. The robots will be able to navigate rows of strawberries, detect and locate ripe strawberries, pick and check the fruit before placing them into a punnet.
If the initial trial succeeds, the project would then seek to expand the production and sell the harvesting robots to farms across the country. The overall aim of project, named ‘Cabeirian’, is to develop technology to allow a single human supervisor to easily deploy and manage teams of robots.
The £60,000 grant will fund the development and implementation of the project.
Ed Herbert, founder of Dogtooth Technologies, said: "The project is crucial in developing a cornerstone of our scalable strawberry harvesting system and the support of the Agri-Tech Initiative has already helped to create jobs, both within Dogtooth and for our local suppliers.
"Our system will allow growers to regulate costs, predict and increase yield through early intervention, and deliver a consistent, high-quality product. This project will accelerate the delivery of robotic harvesting and Dogtooth looks forward to helping our customers compete in an increasingly demanding market."
The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is run by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with support from New Anglia LEP, Norfolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and the local authorities covering this area.
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