Robotic asparagus picker praised by US farmers

15 October 2019

Robotic Asparagus Harvester
Robotic Asparagus Harvester at this year's Fieldays event.

Asparagus is one of the hardest crops to harvest. But an ingenious device created by mechanical engineering experts at the University of Waikato have made it an achievable task.

The robotic asparagus harvester, which was on display at this year’s Fieldays event, has been given the thumbs up by asparagus growers across the country.

Now, it’s been tested by farmers in the US who have sung high praises for the invention.

The genius behind the asparagus harvester lies with the University of Waikato’s Dr Shen Hin Lim, a lecturer in mechanical engineering, PhD student Matthew Peebles and technical officer Joshua Barnett.

“The harvester works via a vision system that detects the asparagus spears, and then the system computes their corresponding base location,” says Dr Lim. “From there, the robotic arm goes to that location at a calculated time and cuts the asparagus.

“With the successful field trials using the current prototype in California, we are one step closer to a commercial viable machine useful to the asparagus industry.”

Dr Lim is part of Waikato Robotics, Automation and Sensing (WaiRAS) – a University-based group that develops smart machines, robots and visual sensors to perform operations.

WaiRAS collaborate with a number of partners, including RoboticsPlus, Arborgen, Tendertips and Boyds.

Check out the asparagus harvester being used on US farms, or watch the video below to see the work of robotics experts at Waikato.

Latest stories

Related stories

University of Waikato researchers awarded $5.6m from Marsden Fund

Four University of Waikato researchers were today awarded Marsden Fund grants for 2019.

Jessica Pasisi

Research aims to shed light on health and wellbeing of Niuean people

Waikato University PhD student, Jessica Pasisi, is seeking to better understand the mental health and…

Research uncovers sense of belonging for refugee and immigrant families through early childhood education

Two major studies are putting refugee and immigrant children in early childhood education at the…

Maui Hudson & Tahu Kukutai

Fighting for Māori data rights

Two researchers are helping to pioneer a global initiative that seeks to restore control of…

Dr Robert Townsend

University research aims to break down barriers for disabled athletes

Major research is underway at the University of Waikato designed to offer more sport and…

Legal technology project to transform legal education in New Zealand

The world that we are living in today will not be the world our children…

Lead researcher Prof Albert Bifet

Waikato Data Scientists awarded $13 million

Data scientists at the University of Waikato have been awarded $13 million from the Government.

Dr Lee Streeter

Time-of-flight researcher awarded by Royal Society

Dr Lee Streeter has solved a big problem in time-of-flight technology, improving the measurement of…


Whakatāne High School win ChemQuest

Students from Whakatāne High School took out the top prize at the University of Waikato’s…


Uni campus hosts STEM Festival in Tauranga

As a main sponsor of the country's first world-class STEM Festival (STEMFest) event, the University…

UoW Rutherford Fellows

$1.6m awarded to Waikato University’s new Rutherford Fellows

Two top researchers have been awarded a highly prestigious award to carry out their research…

Emma Walker and Thomas Archbold

University students receive hefty scholarship to study at Cambridge

Two University of Waikato students have landed a substantial scholarship that has opened the door…