On February 16th-17th, 2016 the SWEEPER consortium held its 3rd general meeting at the Umeå University in Sweden. Partners presented their progress after the first year of research and development. Umeå University works on the motion control of the robot and gripper, for which it uses simulations and real-time control of the robot. Ben Gurion University worked on the detection of fruit using vision routines. For this work, both universities have a robot arm available. Based upon results of tests of several hard and software modules, a camera, laser and illumination for fruit detection were selected. Next, Irmato assembled a basic version of the sweet pepper robot including the robot arm, a mobile platform and the gripper from the previous project CROPS.

 

 

The Sweeper team in front of the building of the Department of Computing Science of the Umeå University.

 

Currently this robot is placed at the laboratory of Wageningen University and Research Center where it is now under further testing of the several modules. Stepwise, new software from the Umeå and Ben Gurion University will be integrated in order to make the integrated basic version able to pick a sweet pepper. Once the functional tests show that the robot is able to harvest fruits in an artificial crop, it will be transferred to a commercial greenhouse (Tuindershoek) at IJsselmuiden the Netherlands in spring 2016. The Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt in Sint-Katelijne-Waver in Belgium selected the most suitable sweet pepper variety. Now, they started the second season tests to select the best cultivation technique, including LED lighting, for robotic harvesting. In the meantime the Sweeper project has had the first meeting with its end-users represented in the Growers Advisory Board.

 

First setup of the robot in front of the artificial sweet pepper crop in laboratory of Wageningen University and Research Center.