Fieldwork Robotics is working with vegetable producer Bonduelle to develop a second iteration of its agricultural robots to harvest cauliflowers.
The University of Plymouth spin-out has developed a raspberry picking cobot and is working with Bosch to optimise the robotic arm and improve software. The company will now collaborate with the Bonduelle Group on a three-year project to create a prototype for commercial manufacture.
Fieldwork will work on detection and soft robotics technology whilst Bonduelle will provide access to fields as well as its expertise in vegetables and different growing and harvesting conditions.
Claudine Lambert, group agronomy director, Bonduelle, said: “Bonduelle has a strong commitment to sustainable and diversified agriculture in all of the territories where we operate globally. New technologies can play an important part in meeting that commitment, so we are delighted to be collaborating with Fieldwork Robotics and excited by the potential of its agricultural robots.”
Fieldwork said the cauliflower harvesting technology is progressing, with co-founder Dr Martin Stoelen initially starting development in a project funded by Agri-Tech Cornwall, an initiative part funded by the European Regional Development Fund with match-funding from Cornwall Council.
The company has this year raised funding totalling £318,000 to accelerate development and scale up of the technology. It has received a £547,250 Innovate UK grant as part of a £671,484 project to develop a multi-armed robot prototype.
As previously reported by Robotics and Innovation, Innovate UK recently provided further support through a £84,000 continuity grant.