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December 22, 2020

UK farmers turn to robots to plug labour shortages

As Christmas approaches at the Melrow nursery in Merseyside, north-west England, one worker wants no holiday, has no concerns about catching Covid-19 and is happy to work up to 23 hours a day plucking piccolo tomatoes.

The Eagle robot, acquired by the nursery’s owner Flavourfresh in June, identifies and snips clusters of tomatoes and gathers data at the futuristic “Genesis” glasshouse where the crop grows year-round under LED lighting.

The machine’s makers, London-based Xihelm, are among the start-ups vying to bring harvesting robots into commercial use by perfecting both the artificial intelligence used to pinpoint ripe fruit and the precision engineering to pick it ...

To read the full article, please visit the FT.