An overview of pruning and harvesting manipulators

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Vítor Tinoco
Manuel Santos Silva
Filipe Neves Santos
António Valente
Luís Freitas Rocha
Sandro Augusto Magalhães
Luís Carlos Santos
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Purpose The motivation for robotics research in the agricultural field has sparked in consequence of the increasing world population and decreasing agricultural labor availability. This paper aims to analyze the state of the art of pruning and harvesting manipulators used in agriculture. Design/methodology/approach A research was performed on papers that corresponded to specific keywords. Ten papers were selected based on a set of attributes that made them adequate for review. Findings The pruning manipulators were used in two different scenarios: grapevines and apple trees. These manipulators showed that a light-controlled environment could reduce visual errors and that prismatic joints on the manipulator are advantageous to obtain a higher reach. The harvesting manipulators were used for three types of fruits: strawberries, tomatoes and apples. These manipulators revealed that different kinematic configurations are required for different kinds of end-effectors, as some of these tools only require movement in the horizontal axis and others are required to reach the target with a broad range of orientations. Originality/value This work serves to reduce the gap in the literature regarding agricultural manipulators and will support new developments of novel solutions related to agricultural robotic grasping and manipulation.