Due to the rise in the population moving towards tech solutions and relevant jobs, it has created a shortage of coconut harvesters in India. This is the reason why scientists have actively started working towards building a tree-climbing coconut-harvesting robot that could eventually fill in the gap.
At Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University, it was led by Asst. Prof. Rajesh Kannan Megalingam and hence prototype was first created. The novel robot is named Amaran and is now in its 6th incarnation and has been under development for the last three years.
The user begins to start assembling the robot’s ring-shaped body at the base of the coconut tree. This takes up to 15 minutes to complete. Making use of its eight inward-facing omnidirectional rubber wheels, Amaran can climb its way up to the top.
With the help of a joystick unit or a smartphone app, the users can wirelessly control the upward, downward, and rotation movements of Amaran around the tree trunk.
As the robot reaches the coconuts, its arm extends and positions itself at the base of a bunch of ripe coconuts. There is a circular saw blade at the end of its arm that cuts through it, resultingly makes the coconuts fall to the ground.
The robot can satisfyingly climb trees as high as 15.2m (49.9) ft, with an inclination of almost 30 degrees, based on field tests that took place at a coconut farm. Compared to Amaran, human harvesters were much speedier. But Amaran could make up to that by working longer hours and eventually make up for the difference in speed.