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为什么机器人很快会采摘柔软的水果和沙拉

Why robots will soon be picking soft fruits and salad
为什么机器人很快会采摘柔软的水果和沙拉
1014字
2019-09-24 17:44
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为什么机器人很快会采摘柔软的水果和沙拉

London (CNN Business)It takes a certain nimbleness to pick a strawberry or a salad. While crops like wheat and potatoes have been harvested mechanically for decades, many fruits and vegetables have proved resistant to automation. They are too easily bruised, or too hard for heavy farm machinery to locate.

伦敦(CNN商业)选择草莓或沙拉需要一定的灵活性。虽然小麦和土豆等作物已经机械收割数十年,但许多水果和蔬菜已被证明对自动化具有抵抗力。它们太容易擦伤,或者太难以找到重型农业机械。

But recently, technological developments and advances in machine learning have led to successful trials of more sensitiveand dexterous robots, which use cameras and artificial intelligence to locate ripe fruit and handle it with care and precision.

但最近,技术的发展和机器学习的进步已经成功地试验了更敏感和灵巧的机器人,这些机器人使用相机和人工智能来定位成熟的果实并小心谨慎地处理它。

Developed by engineers at the University of Cambridge, the Vegebot is the first robot that can identify and harvest iceberg lettuce — bringing hope to farmers that one of the most demanding crops for human pickers could finally be automated.

Vegebot由剑桥大学的工程师开发,是第一个能够识别和收获冰山莴苣的机器人 - 为农民带来了希望,即最挑剔的人类拣选作物之一最终可以实现自动化。

First, a camera scans the lettuce and, with the help of a machine learning algorithm trained on more than a thousand lettuce images, decides if it is ready for harvest. Then a second camera guides the picking cage on top of the plant without crushing it. Sensors feel when it is in the right position, and compressed air drives a blade through the stalk at a high force to get a clean cut.

首先,摄像机扫描生菜,并在一千多个生菜图像训练的机器学习算法的帮助下,决定它是否准备好收获。然后第二台摄像机将采摘笼引导到植物顶部而不会将其压碎。传感器感觉它处于正确位置时,压缩空气以很大的力量驱动刀片穿过杆,以获得干净的切割。

Its success rate is high, with 91% of the crop accurately classified, according to a study published in July. But the robot is still much slower than humans, taking 31 seconds on average to pick one lettuce. Researchers say this could easily be sped up by using lighter materials.

根据7月发表的一项研究 ,其成功率很高,91%的作物被准确分类。但机器人仍然比人类慢得多,平均需要31秒来挑选一个生菜。研究人员表示,使用较轻的材料可以很容易地加快这种速度。

Such adjustments would need to be made if the robot was used commercially. "Our goal was to prove you can do it, and we've done it," Simon Birrell, co-author of the study, tells CNN Business. "Now it depends on somebody taking the baton and running forward," he says.

如果机器人在商业上使用,则需要进行这样的调整。 “我们的目标是证明你能做到,我们已经做到了,”该研究的共同作者西蒙·比雷尔告诉美国有线电视新闻网。 “现在,这取决于有人拿着接力棒并向前跑,”他说。

More mouths to feed, but less manual labor

多吃点,少做点体力活

With the world's population expected to climb to 9.7 billion in 2050 from 7.7 billion today — meaning roughly 80 million more mouths to feed each year — agriculture is under pressure to meet rising demand for food production.

预计到2050年,世界人口将从目前的77亿攀升到97亿,也就是说,每年要多养活大约8000万人口,农业面临着满足不断增长的粮食生产需求的压力。

Added pressures from climate change, such as extreme weather, shrinking agricultural lands and the depletion of natural resources, make innovation and efficiency all the more urgent.

气候变化带来的额外压力,如极端天气、农业用地萎缩和自然资源枯竭,使创新和效率变得更加紧迫。

This is one reason behind the industry's drive to develop robotics. The global market for agricultural drones and robots is projected to grow from $2.5 billion in 2018 to $23 billion in 2028, according to a report from market intelligence firm BIS Research.

这是推动机器人技术发展的一个原因。市场情报公司bis research的一份报告显示,全球农业无人机和机器人市场预计将从2018年的25亿美元增长到2028年的230亿美元。

"Agriculture robots are expected to have a higher operating speed and accuracy than traditional agriculture machinery, which shall lead to significant improvements in production efficiency," Rakhi Tanwar, principal analyst of BIS Research, tells CNN Business.

BIS研究公司的首席分析师rakhi tanwar告诉cnn business:“农业机器人的运行速度和精度有望高于传统农业机械,这将显着提高生产效率。”

On top of this, growers are facing a long-term labor shortage. According to the World Bank, the share of total employment in agriculture in the world has declined from 43% in 1991 to 28% in 2018.

除此之外,种植者还面临着长期的劳动力短缺。根据世界银行的数据,世界农业总就业率从1991年的43%下降到2018年的28%。

Tanwar says this is partly due to a lack of interest from younger generations. "The development of robotics in agriculture could lead to a massive relief to the growers who suffer from economic losses due to labor shortage," she says.

Tanwar说,这部分是因为年轻一代缺乏兴趣。”她说:“农业机器人技术的发展可能会给因劳动力短缺而遭受经济损失的种植者带来巨大的缓解。”

Robots can work all day and night, without stopping for breaks, and could be particularly useful during intense harvest periods.

机器人可以日夜工作,不停下来休息,在丰收期特别有用。

"The main benefit is durability," says Martin Stoelen, a lecturer in robotics at the University of Plymouth and founder of Fieldwork Robotics, which has developed a raspberry-picking robot in partnership with Hall Hunter, one of the UK's major berry growers.

普利茅斯大学(University of Plymouth)机器人学讲师、野战机器人学(Fieldwork Robotics)创始人马丁·斯托伦(Martin Stoelen)说:“主要的好处是耐用性,他与英国主要浆果种植者之一霍尔·亨特(Hall Hunter)合作开发了一种覆盆子采摘机器人。

Their robots, expected to go into production next year, will operate more than 20 hours a day and seven days a week during busy periods, "which human pickers obviously can't do," says Stoelen.

他们的机器人预计将于明年投入生产,在繁忙时期每天工作20小时以上,每周工作7天,“这显然是人类采摘者做不到的,”斯托伦说。

Sustainable farming and food waste

可持续农业和食物浪费

Robots could also lead to more sustainable farming practices. They could enable growers to use less water, less fuel, and fewer pesticides, as well as producing less waste, says Tanwar.

机器人还可以带来更可持续的农业实践。探沃尔说,它们可以使种植者使用更少的水、更少的燃料和更少的杀虫剂,同时产生更少的废物。

At the moment, a field is typically harvested once, and any unripe fruits or vegetables are left to rot. Whereas, a robot could be trained to pick only ripe vegetables and, working around the clock, it could come back to the same field multiple times to pick any stragglers.

目前,一块地一般只收获一次,任何未成熟的水果或蔬菜都会腐烂,而机器人可以接受训练,只摘成熟的蔬菜,24小时不间断地工作,可以多次回到同一块地里,挑选任何一个掉队的人。

Birrell says that this will be the most important impact of robot pickers. "Right now, between a quarter and a third of food just rots in the field, and this is often because you don't have humans ready at the right time to pick them," he says.

比雷尔说,这将是机器人采摘者最重要的影响。”现在,四分之一到三分之一的食物只是在地里腐烂,这通常是因为你没有准备好在合适的时间采摘它们。

A successful example of this is the strawberry-picking robot developed by Octinion, a Belgium-based engineering startup.

一个成功的例子是由比利时的工程初创公司Octinion开发的草莓采摘机器人。

The robot — which launched this year and is being used by growers in the UK and the Netherlands — is mounted on a self-driving trolley to serve table top strawberry production.

这款机器人今年推出,目前正被英国和荷兰的种植者使用,它被安装在一个自动驾驶的手推车上,为桌面草莓生产提供服务。?

It uses 3D vision to locate the ripe berry, softly grips it with a pair of plastic pincers, and — just like a human — turns it 90 degrees to snap it from the stalk, before dropping it gently into a punnet.

它使用3D视觉定位成熟的浆果,用一对塑料钳子轻轻地捏住它,然后像人类一样,将它旋转90度,从茎上折断,然后轻轻地将它扔进双关语。

"Robotics have the potential to convert the market from (being) supply-driven to demand-driven," says Tom Coen, CEO and founder of Octinion. "That will then help to reduce food waste and increase prices," he adds.

“机器人技术有潜力将市场从供给驱动转变为需求驱动,”Octinion首席执行官兼创始人汤姆·考恩说。这将有助于减少食品浪费和提高价格,”他补充说。

Harsh conditions

恶劣条件

One major challenge with agricultural robots is adapting them for all-weather conditions. Farm machinery tends to be heavy-duty so that it canwithstand rain, snow, mud, dust and heat.

农业机器人面临的一个主要挑战是使其适应全天候条件。农机往往是重型的,因此它可以抵御雨、雪、泥、灰尘和高温。

"Building robots for agriculture is very different to building it for factories," says Birrell. "Until you're out in the field, you don't realize how robust it needs to be — it gets banged and crashed, you go over uneven surfaces, you get rained on, you get dust, you get lightning bolts."

“为农业生产机器人和为工厂生产机器人是截然不同的,”比雷尔说。除非你在野外,否则你不会意识到它需要有多坚固——它会被撞击和撞毁,你会翻越不平的表面,你会被雨水淋湿,你会沾上灰尘,你会被闪电击中。”

California-based Abundant Robotics has built an apple robot to endure the full range of farm conditions. It consists of an apple-sucking tube on a tractor-like contraption, which drives itself down an orchard row, while using computer vision to locate ripe fruit.

总部位于加州的丰盛机器人公司制造了一款苹果机器人,可以承受各种农场条件。它由一个像拖拉机一样的装置上的苹果吸管组成,这个装置可以自动沿着果园的一排排排行驶,同时使用计算机视觉来定位成熟的水果。

This spells the start of automation for orchard crops, says Dan Steere, CEO of Abundant Robotics. "Automation has steadily improved agricultural productivity for centuries," he says. "[We]have missed out on much of those benefits until now."

丰盛机器人首席执行官丹?斯蒂尔(dan steee)表示,这意味着果园作物自动化的开始。”几个世纪以来,自动化已经稳步提高了农业生产力。到目前为止,(我们)已经错过了很多这些好处。”

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