Abundant Robotics, one of the companies working to develop a robotic apple picker, is harvesting the first commercial crop for New Zealand’s largest grower this spring.
T&G Global took an interest in Abundant’s technology a little over two years ago, and the commercial harvester fits with T&G’s orchard strategies, Abundant CEO Dan Steere told Good Fruit Grower in a telephone call.
“We’ve been doing development work in Washington every fall and then field work in New Zealand and Australia each spring, and we were ready to do commercial work for the first time this season,” he said. “T&G was the natural partner.”
Abundant owns the machines it has developed; the harvest is being handled as a contract service, as if T&G is hiring a crew of pickers.