A group of scientists has developed a robot that can climb coconut trees and harvest the delicious fruit, or nut, or whatever it is. (See video below.)
In a paper authored by nine authors, the researchers say there is “an acute shortage of human coconut tree climbers to harvest coconuts in India and other developing countries”.
In response, the team has built a robot called Amaran, which is described as “a novel robotic coconut tree climber and harvester”, and which can be operated through a smartphone.
Amaran is comprised of a harvester with a distinctive robotic arm and a cutter, which can be attached to a ring-shaped frame that can be fastened to a coconut tree.
Amaran can be controlled, through a wireless interface, either by an operator on the ground or via a smartphone-based app.
Once dispositioned in the vicinity of the coconut bunch, the cutter is commanded to harvest the coconuts, by cutting the stem of the bunch attached to the tree.
Verification of the Amaran robot’s viability was confirmed by tests conducted on a coconut tree setup in the design lab. Subsequently, the design of the Amaran robot was validated by field tests in a coconut farm.
The scientists say Amaran’s dexterity in climbing and harvesting coconuts can be challenged by height, circumference, and inclination of the tree.
Experimental results show that Amaran can successfully climb trees up to 15.2 meters tall, of circumferences ranging from 0.66 m to 0.92 m, and tree trunk inclinations of up to 30 degrees.