Vision Robotics, a San Diego company, is working on a pair of robots that would trundle through orchards plucking oranges, apples or other fruit from the trees. In a few years, troops of these machines could perform the tedious and labor-intensive task of fruit picking that currently employs thousands of migrant workers each season.At first, they wondered whether such a machine was possible. Then, they got the bright idea to use two robots: one to locate the fruit, and another to determine the best way to pick the pre-located fruit. The California Citrus Research Board will spend about $1 million on this, with a projected cost of $5 million to get to a finished product. Obviously, that's an extremely small amount compared to some of the figures involved in legalizing millions of illegal aliens, not to mention the non-financial costs.
The robotic work has been funded entirely by agricultural associations, and pushed forward by the uncertainty surrounding the migrant labor force. Farmers are "very, very nervous about the availability and cost of labor in the near future," says Vision Robotics CEO Derek Morikawa.
Immigration2007a · Fri, 06/22/2007 - 09:23 · Importance: 1