Robots are reaching a point in development that they can replace human workers in many tasks. Farming and harvesting are one such area. Though agriculture automation has been occurring for many decades, it is now reaching a critical point in the market. Agriculture has to push forward with automation lest it lose its supply of workers and the human race be incapable of feeding itself.
Benefits of robot to industry
Agriculture is suffering from a lack of workers to pick more fragile produce such as berries, apples, and other foods where the external appearance is of utmost importance. Robots have been kept out of this region of harvesting for a great number if years due to a prior inability to harvest these foods without damaging them.
The agriculture industry is, however, feeling the impact of fewer pickers. This article by The Country highlights how a dwindling picker supply is impacting the ability of farmers to put food into stores for citizens. Robots which can pick those fruits and vegetables without harming them have the power to prevent this shortage from taking a long-term toll on food as a supply chain.
Implications for food supply
This apple picking robot is laying the groundwork for machines to harvest all types of fragile produce without damaging it, enabling crop yield to increase as the land and agriculture advances allow. By providing a supply of workers that can harvest produce without damaging fragile products, the companies behind these picking robots are enabling harvests to occur around the clock and ease the worrying minds of farmers nationwide.
Changes to labor market
Robotic invasion into the picking industry shows promise for the future of feeding the world because according to The Country, many younger individuals do not want to do the job, but many older pickers are also retiring from the industry. The result is a reduced supply of effective workers in an ever-increasing sea of demand for high-quality food products.
Picking robots are seeing increased pressure due to the modern market of increasing human population and declining population of willing and able-bodied human pickers. Robots can fill this unique niche so long as they are made to be visually discerning and capable of picking fragile fruits, berries, and other produce without damaging them.
Automation is going to be key to feeding the human race, especially as humanity expands outward into space. In order to feed more than seven-billion mouths, it seems infeasible to use only an ever-dwindling pool of human labor rather than tap into the wealth of modern robotics and machine vision technologies.