Date of this Version
Vol. 32(3): 301-318
With an increasing world population in need of food and a limited amount of land for cultivation, higher efficiency in agricultural production, especially fruits and vegetables, is increasingly required. The success of agricultural production in the marketplace depends on its quality and cost. The cost of labor for crop production, harvesting, and post-harvesting operations is a major portion of the overall production cost, especially for specialty crops such as strawberry. As a result, a multitude of automation technologies involving semi-autonomous and autonomous robots have been utilized, with an aim of minimizing labor costs and operation time to achieve a considerable improvement in farming efficiency and economic performance. Research and technologies for weed control, harvesting, hauling, sorting, grading, and/or packing have been generally reviewed for fruits and vegetables, yet no review has been conducted thus far specifically for robotic technology being used in strawberry production. In this article, studies on strawberry robotics and their associated automation technologies are reviewed in terms of mechanical subsystems (e.g., traveling unit, handling unit, storage unit) and electronic subsystems (e.g., sensors, computer, communication, and control). Additionally, robotic technologies being used in different stages in strawberry production operations are reviewed. The robot designs for strawberry management are also categorized in terms of purpose and environment.