The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave $548,000 earlier this month to assistant professor with WSU's Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems Manoj Karkee.
Karkee envisions a prototype within three to five years and commercially available models within 10. His idea is of a robot reaching its dozen tentacles through the leaves of an apple tree to pick ripe fruit at four times the rate of humans.
His idea is to pair an automated machine with a field employee who would decide how and when to pick apples, when for example, they are obscured behind leaves or in clusters.
MORE HBJ HEADLINES
Everett's ATS CEO named HBJ Executive of the Year American Airlines dumps Zodiac, goes with B/E Aerospace 11:19 a.m. Cost estimate of Los Angeles-area gas leak hits $665 million 10:37 a.m. Briefs: BECU, car dealerships raise money for Housing Hope Target faces backlash on stance on transgender bathrooms Driver in fatal duck boat crash in Boston cited 10 times for speeding