, Volume 12, Issue 1-3, pp 11-25

End-Effectors for Tomato Harvesting Robot

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Two types of robotic end-effectors capable of harvesting tomato fruits were manufactured based on the physical properties of tomato plant and tested. The first prototype end-effector consisted of two parallel plate fingers and a suction pad. The fingers pick a fruit off at the joint of its peduncle after the suction cup singulates it by vacuum from other fruits in the same cluster. From the results of harvesting experiment, the end-effector could not harvest fruits with a short peduncle because the fruits were detached from the suction pad before they were gripped by the fingers. Therefore, the second prototype in which the functions to detect the fruit position and the air pressure in the pad were installed, was made, so that the fruits were harvested regardless of the length of their peduncle. Experimental results using the improved end-effector showed that the fruits were harvested successfully with no damage.