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Robot harvester a reality for strawberries


PLANT CITY, FL — With labor already in short supply and a crisis looming, agricultural technology has turned its sights toward automation. But there's always been some question whether a machine could harvest a crop as complex as strawberries.

Florida grower Gary Wishnatzki of Wish Farms and his tech partners seem to a have solved that problem with a new robotic harvester that's already working the fields.

This version is a prototype — an alpha model should be in fields by the time the next harvest begins with commercial production to follow. The harvester can tell ripe fruit from green and works at the same speed as a human — but never needs a lunch break.