Sweeper is a sweet pepper harvesting robot and the first generation greenhouse harvesting robot in the market. Sweeper was developed by CROPS a project integrating the European 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development (FP7).
With a decreasing workforce willing to do repetitive work in harsh, greenhouse climate conditions, Sweeper wants to solve the problem of labor availability, labor costs, food safety and quality.
Sweeper is a mobile, autonomous robotic platform consisting of a robotic arm and end effector equipped with cameras and sensors that can harvest mature peppers autonomously. The camera can detect a pepper, localizes the pepper, and classifies its maturity. This information is used for path planning and harvesting. The robot uses computer vision and artificial intelligence and was trained using a deep learning network and a simulated model to identify obstacles such as stems and leaves. Once a sweep pepper has been detected the robotic arm can reach for the pepper, cuts the pepper at the stem allowing it to fall into the robots catching device so it can be placed in a bin. A conveyor system can be attached to convey the peppers to a trolley. Multiple robots and trolleys will be part of a fully autonomous harvesting and logistics system.