Robot claims to boost productivity by more than 20% - Fruit & Vine

Robot claims to boost productivity by more than 20%

The Hugo RTTM autonomous mobile robot, designed for soft fruit farms, can help growers tackle labour challenges by improving productivity, reducing waste, boosting profits and worker wellbeing, according to Fox Robotics.

Entrepreneur Henry Acevedo founded Fox Robotics Limited in his home in 2017, and has since gone on to develop an autonomous mobile robot specifically for the horticulture sector.

The Hugo RTTM (Rough Terrain) has been designed for the outdoors and polytunnels to be used in all weather conditions, all year round, as a way to improve productivity and efficiency in the soft fruit sector. It transports empty trays to pickers, collects the picked produce and delivers it to any collection point (moving or stationary) whilst simultaneously collecting valuable telemetry and weight data.

Automating logistics means pickers can focus on the complex task of picking delicate fruit, meaning more fruit is picked each day, waste is reduced, profits are increased, and staff wellbeing improved. According to Fox Robotics, implementing the Hugo RTTM can help growers obtain over 20% increase in overall productivity, and reduces farm CO2 emissions.

Hugo RTTM is a collaborative robot that can work safety with humans and other robots. It uses existing infrastructure and can be easily integrated with current systems, Fox Robotics explains.

Safety is a key priority for the company – the robot has two safety bumpers, and 360-degree access to emergency stops. Using AI, it is trained to recognise and differentiate between humans, drivable paths and obstacles, and is easy to configure and run, the company says.

The web interface software can be accessed from any device and is the primary way farm supervisors plan and monitor their operations. It allows growers to monitor the fleet of robots, interact with the data they collect, create reports and make informed decisions. This data can be shared and integrated with other systems through APIs.

Fox Robotics has now relocated to Farnham, Surrey, to facilitate further growth. The ability to recreate a polytunnel with growing fruit and carry out tests in its own field has been critical for progress.

Lutton Farms has also assisted Fox Robotics, by being their first customer and providing the company with extensive real-life data and support
to train the Hugo RTTM.

Fox Robotics has also worked with other farms across the UK, including one of the UK’s most prominent strawberry growers.

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