Saffron is the most expensive crop in the world and is hugely labour intensive to harvest. It is the dried stigma of the Crocus Sativus flower, and is extremely delicate, so requires hand picking, with hundreds of thousands of flowers needed to produce 1 kilogram of saffron. The drone uses computer vision to identify saffron flowers in bloom, then homes in on them and uses its compliant gripper to grab each stigma, before sucking them up into its holding chamber with the onboard fan. When low on battery, it returns to the hub, where it deposits saffron into the main drying chamber, and wirelessly recharges on the outer pad. The main hub monitors the drones’ movement, offloading some computing, and keeping track of their status. The exhaust heat from the hub’s computer is used to dry the collected saffron.
A collaborative project with Digital Kinematics.