Robotics

Indian robot climbs trees to harvest coconuts

Indian robot climbs trees to h...
The Amaran robot is placed around a tree trunk in the lab
The Amaran robot is placed around a tree trunk in the lab
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The Amaran robot is placed around a tree trunk in the lab
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The Amaran robot is placed around a tree trunk in the lab
Amaran with its saw-blade arm extended
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Amaran with its saw-blade arm extended
Amaran at work in a coconut tree
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Amaran at work in a coconut tree
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As the population increasingly moves towards tech jobs, there's now a shortage of coconut harvesters in India. That's why scientists there have built a tree-climbing coconut-harvesting robot, that could perhaps someday take up the slack.

The prototype device was created by a team at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University, led by Asst. Prof. Rajesh Kannan Megalingam. Known as Amaran, it's currently in its sixth incarnation, and has been in development for three years.

In a 15-minute process, users start by manually assembling the robot's ring-shaped body around the base of a coconut tree. Utilizing its eight inward-facing omnidirectional rubber wheels, Amaran then makes its way up to the top.

A user wirelessly controls it from the ground, utilizing either a joystick unit or a smartphone app to move it up and down, and to rotate it around the trunk.

Once the robot has reached the coconuts, its arm is extended and positioned at the base of a bunch of ripe coconuts. Utilizing a circular saw blade on the end of the arm, Amaran then cuts through that base, allowing the coconuts to fall to the ground.

Amaran at work in a coconut tree
Amaran at work in a coconut tree

In field tests conducted at a coconut farm, the robot successfully climbed trees up to 15.2 m (49.9 ft) in height, with trunk inclinations of up to 30 degrees. Additionally, while human coconut harvesters were found to work faster, Amaran could work for longer, potentially making up the difference.

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics.

The robot can be seen in use, in the video below.

Source: Rajesh Kannan Megalingam (YouTube) via IEEE Spectrum

Amaran - An Unmanned Robotic Coconut Tree Climber and Harvester

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5 comments
Haresh
This is an incredible invention. I love it as I drink coconut water everyday and would definitely be interested in this invention. Thank you for this great Video.
Mike Johnson
Great reporting.
No matter where there will be increasing numbers of jobs everyone will refuse to do.
pmshah
I can't believe what I just saw. Using two pairs of electrician's pliers to fix/tighten bolt and nut? No wonder we have to many idiots plying the trade they are so eminently un fit for. BTW how much does a socket set with ratchet driver cost ???
drBill
I'd like to see a tree-climbing robot. This is a pole climber.
Nelson Hyde Chick
More and more people needing jobs that will be automated.