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Automation and robots for handling, storing and transporting fresh horticulture produce

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Purpose of review: This review addresses the current status of robotics for handling, storing and transporting fresh horticultural produce and highlights significant new findings in this domain.

Findings: Limited numbers of scientific research projects have been carried out with robotics for handling, storing and transporting fresh horticultural produce; however significant new findings in these fields have been presented. The robotic applications to standardise packed horticultural produce are relatively easy compared with handling individual fragile and heterogenic horticultural produce. This could explain why there is relatively greater progress in the field in packed horticultural produce.

Limitations/implications: Use of the new robotic systems is associated with significant cost for the horticulture producers compared with the increase of their incomes. However, the advancement of the horticulture industry has to evolve with reducing cost, increasing productivity, reducing waste, more precise sorting and increasing efficiency.

Directions for future research: To be competitive with the other industry sectors and remain labour attractive, the horticulture production sector has to adopt or adapt automation and robotics with innovations in quality inspection technologies to reduce variability in the process results and simplify the tasks. Standardisation of the packaging process, container shape, and handling methods would have an important impact on the development of standard robots.
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Document Type: Research Article

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