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The Development of Mechanical Apple Harvesting Technology: A Review

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 59(5): 1165-1180. (doi: 10.13031/trans.59.11737) @2016
Authors:   Zhao Zhang, Paul H. Heinemann, Jude Liu, Tara A. Baugher, James R. Schupp
Keywords:   Apples, Harvest-assist, Harvesting robot, Mechanical harvest.

Abstract. Harvest is one of the most challenging production tasks in apple production. It is a labor-intensive operation, and mechanization has been slow in development for a myriad of reasons. With increasing labor costs and decreasing availability of harvest employees, researchers have been focusing on mechanical apple harvest technologies. Studies on semi-automatic harvesters, harvest robots, and harvest-assist platforms target development of mechanical apple harvesting. Semi-automatic harvesters for fresh market apples have not been commercialized due to unacceptably high incidence of apple bruising. Harvest robots have not been commercialized due to their high costs and low efficiency. Apple harvest-assist platforms are a technology that has the potential to be more widely commercialized based on the current research.

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