As people increasingly turn to technology, there is now a shortage of coconut pickers in India. That’s why scientists there have created a tree-climbing coconut picking robot that may one day fill the void. The prototype was created by a team at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University and led by Associate Professor Rajesh Kannan Megalingam. It is called Amaran and has been in development for three years.
During the 15-minute process, the user first manually assembles the robot’s ring body at the bottom of the coconut tree. Using its eight in-1000 rubber wheels, Amaran climbs up.
The user wirelessly controls it from the ground, using a joystick device or smartphone app to move up and down and rotate around the trunk. Once the robot reaches the coconut, its arm extends and is positioned at the bottom of a string of ripe coconuts. Using a circular blade at the end of the arm, Amaran will cut open and let the coconut fall to the ground.
In field tests conducted on a coconut farm, the robot managed to climb up to 15.2 meters of trees with trunks tilted up to 30 degrees. In addition, while human coconut harvesters have been found to work faster, Amaran can work longer and may make up for the difference.
The study was recently published in the journal IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics.