A recent article in the Wall Street Journal featured Salinas Valley-based Driscoll’s and its automated berry picker, as part of a spotlight on the future of automated field harvesting. Highlighting the company’s work with robotics startups such as Agrobot and Harvest CROO, the story explains how Driscoll’s has invested in the development of robotic strawberry pickers for several years. By dedicating small plots of land to robotics companies for testing in the Salinas Valley, they are working to move the development process forward quickly, “in hopes of speeding up a breakthrough.”
Moreover, Driscoll’s is also improving conditions for their field workers as part of their robotics development. The article reports that the company is investing $80,000 per acre to raise crop beds, which will allow pickers to work in an upright position and improve the accuracy of the robots with the increased strawberry visibility. Eventually, changes like this will create a “robot-farmer symbiosis,” in which workers and robots harvest alongside one another.
To learn more about large Salinas-based growers like Driscoll’s that are working to improve farming efficiency, visit our employer page for further information.