Complex robotic automation and machine vision for sorting fruit

Nature doesn’t provide blueprints, which are why our robot system can cope with handling all kinds of different fruit – and can even sort red apples from green ones.


Robots are good at performing the same action, but they struggle with repeating actions with are slightly different each time. Our challenge was to design a robot to pick and sort irregular organic items like fruit.

The robot had to recognise the correct objects, calculate what order to pick them in, plan the grip and then lift and place the items.


Our robotic system demonstrates what’s possible when experts from different fields come together to solve a problem. Our programming, electronics and mechanical engineering experts joined forces with our machine vision and robotics teams to create a smart system that can transform a variety of tasks.


Our robot uses machine vision and some smart software to identify which piece of fruit is on top. It translates this information into real-world co-ordinates and positions the ‘hand’ to pick the required fruit and avoid other objects. After all, in the real world, robots need to work around people, cope with irregular items and adapt to a changing environment.

The custom-made hand adapts to the shape of the fruit and securely grips it without damaging it. The biggest challenge that we overcame was enabling the robot to tackle objects stacked on top of one another – with the irregular shapes of the fruit making it even more challenging.

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