Some think automation may be the answer to labor challenges seen in California, but some jobs may still requiring the human element.
California Farm Bureau Director of Employment Policy Brian Little says he recently worked with a northern California pear producer and doesn’t see how picking a pear could ever become automated.
More about automation in the industry
At the Produce Marketing Association’s Tech Knowledge Conference, Harvest Automation was displaying it’s potted-plant moving robot. The vehicle is about the size of a small suitcase and is loaded with sensors.
Co-Founder and COO Charles Grinnell says these robots are a huge labor savor for nurseries. Most autonomous vehicles of this size, either in the air or on the ground, use GPS to navigate but Grinnell says that wasn’t a solution when they were designing this drone. Their alternative for operation came from a currently used technique.
Grinnell says it was important for them to make the robot as useful as possible, and that meant limiting downtime. Another important aspect to any new technology is ease of use. Grinnell says technology needs to be simple to operate, and also be flexible in operation, to make it that much more valuable to an operation. Listen to reports and watch more videos here.