Technology has always been present in agriculture, one of the sectors that is at the forefront of research and innovation.
Its development to date has gone hand in hand with advances in fields as diverse as molecular genetics, biochemistry or materials engineering, and now automation, already integrated into many production processes and crop monitoring, has brought it a step further by bringing intelligent robots directly to farms to help farmers in their daily work.
"At MiFood Robot we have developed a harvesting robot prototype with all kinds of customizable functions. MiFood has a robotic arm with a gripper with which different products can be harvested, like strawberries, grapes, apples or oranges," explains Rubén Miranda, CEO.
"Its 3D vision module identifies each fruit. It then uses its artificial intelligence system to compare these in real-time with a database provided by the producers themselves of fruit images with the desired colour, ripeness or size characteristics, and which can be specific for each customer."
"It has a wide viewing range of 3 to 6 meters, and the picker gripper has a high precision, of about 0.02 mm," says Ruben. "MiFood Robot can work both in the open field and in indoor farms, as it is waterproof, and during the day and also at night, since it can be equipped with a low-energy light system for harvesting at all times."
"As for its autonomy, the robot can always operate connected to a power supply and, in the event that one is not available on the farm itself, it can operate autonomously for up to 12 hours with a single recharge of its battery."
"We are seeing a lot of interest from greenhouse strawberry growers, a very labour-demanding crop, at a time when there is a shortage of workers for the field, and especially from the UK, where this shortage has aggravated due to the pandemic and Brexit, causing many productions to be lost," says Miranda. "We are also seeing interest from investors aiming to make a profit from this business."
From the outset, MiFood Robot's project has attracted the attention of innovation drivers of companies in the United States, Hong Kong and Poland, and together with the support of European Union programs, it has helped consolidate the company's development in the field of robotics for agriculture; an activity that accounts for 8% of the global market.
"The MiFood Robot harvesting robot is a solution that not only helps with agricultural tasks, but also contributes to meeting 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals," continues Miranda, stressing that technology in robotics is within everyone's reach.
"An average farm in Western Europe only needs 18 months to recover the investment made in one of our harvesting robots."
"In addition to our offices in Spain and Poland, we will soon be opening one in the United States," says the CEO.