A robotic asparagus harvester with the potential to replace up to 10 pickers has been demonstrated in the Netherlands.
Developed by technology company Demcon as part of a project with Saxion college, the machine works by measuring the height of the spear above the top of the bed. The unit works the asparagus loose underground and pulls the spear out of the bed. Mounted on a trolley-like frame, the tractor keeps moving forward while the robot stops, harvests and then continues.
The machine covers around 1 hectare per hour and is expected to be commercially available in a couple years. Current costs are around €500,000 per machine.