About Robot Highways
Robot Highways is a joint vision for the future of soft fruit farming, funded by Innovate UK. This exciting project involves several partners, each with significant expertise in their chosen area. It is led by Saga Robotics, global leaders in robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) technology for the soft fruit sector, alongside the University of Lincoln (Europe's largest academic research centre for agri-robotics), Berry Gardens (a co-operative of British berry growers and the UK’s largest supplier of the nation’s berries and cherries), University of Reading (knowledge exchange and economic evaluation specialists), British Telecommunications, Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd, and leading strawberry grower and member of Berry Gardens, Clock House Farm Ltd.
Robot Highways will be the largest known global demonstration of robotic and autonomous (RAS) technologies that fuse multiple application technologies across a single farming system. The trial will set to deliver a vision for the future of soft fruit farming, where robots will assist farmers by carrying out essential, energy intensive physical farm processes such as picking and packing fruit and treating crops to reduce critical pests and diseases, powered by renewable energy.
These technologies underpin industry sustainability by reducing sector reliance on seasonal labour, whilst upskilling the existing workforce,estimating a 40% reduction in the labour required.
‘Robot Highways’ will also provide solutions for moving the sector towards a carbon zero future. With an estimated 20% reduction fruit waste, 90% reduction in fungicide use, huge reduction in the use of fossil fuel across all farm logistic operations and a 15% increase in farm productivity.
The project aims to:
- Improve forecasting accuracy
- Increase farm productivity
- Reduce packhouse and farm labour
- Reduce fruit waste
- Reduce fungicide use
- Reducing fossil fuel use.