Robots Are Real in Strawberry Fields

Robots Are Real in Strawberry Fields

Picking delicate fruit such as berries has long been off-limits for robots. Not any longer if Harvest CROO Robotics succeeds in automating this process.

Its robots with a “gentle touch” are touted to make up for a declining work force and ensure the long-term affordability of produce. Currently, both unions and farmers seem to embrace the new technology.

Video Spotlight: See the Harvest robot at work

This post is based on the Washington Post article, Farmworker vs Robot, by D. Paquette, February 17, 2019, and the YouTube video, Gary Wishnatzki of Harvest CROO Robotics, by Harvest CROO, November 6, 2018. Image source: PKKoala/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the external factors providing opportunities for Harvest?

Guidance: Political/legal (tighter immigration policies) and economic factors (shrinking American labor pool) raise the prospects of much higher prices for produce if automation does not replace human labor. Technological factors (advances in robotics) help Harvest equip farmers with the necessary tools to make up for labor shortages and improve productivity since robots do not take breaks and do not need benefits.

2. What are the foreseeable limitations of the technology in the short term?

Guidance: Currently, the robots still lag Continue reading