Researchers from across Europe have won a €4m grant from Horizon 2020 to develop the first market-ready bell pepper harvester.
According to the European Commission, the ‘Sweet Pepper Harvesting Robot’ (SWEEPER) project could see the replacement of human labour by robots for the repetitive harvesting task. The project will specifically focus on crossing the ‘valley of death’ and build upon the work of FP7-funded CROPS project, which developed a sweet pepper harvesting robot. The successful prototype robot hardware and software will now be further developed and refined, including the optimisation of the cropping system to enable harvesting.
The project consortium is co-ordinated by Wageningen UR in the Netherlands, a food and biobased research centre, and includes the participation of researchers from Israel, Belgium and Sweden. The project will run for 36 months in total.